Lalong Asks Buhari To Implement Livestock Plan To Tackle Herders-Farmers Clashes

Lalong Asks Buhari To Implement Livestock Plan To Tackle Herders-Farmers Clashes

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State of Plateau State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hasten the implementation of National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) to address the challenges posed by frequent herders-farmers clashes in the country.

Governor Lalong made the call while fielding questions from State House reporters after a closed meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The governor said Vice President Yemi led livestock committee made far-reaching recommendations and provided funds to nine pilot states to move the country away from the old ways of rearing cattle and embrace modern techniques.

He said cattle rearing shouldn’t pose hazards of insecurity to others despite being means of economic livelihood.

“Incidentally, I am a member of the livestock committee under the Vice President and I represent the north central. That was the purpose of setting up that committee and that committee made far-reaching recommendations and then funds were to be made available to pilot states, Plateau and about nine states are pilot states, to address some of these issues.

“The issue was to move away from the old ways of rearing cows and to find modern ways of doing it. In some places, they will do it that way, but then in a confined environment, which was agreed to by all and that is part of the point I was raising, to remind Mr President to hasten the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). We are still left with the herdsmen/farmers problem, the implementation of the NLTP will go a long way to address these issues.

“Either we like it or not, we need cows and it’s also some people’s occupation, but where it leads to conflicts and raises hazards like insecurity, we have to address. While we tolerate it, we must still address it because it is some people’s means of economic livelihood, but it shouldn’t be posing hazards of insecurity to anybody.”

Security outfits and community policing

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), while reacting to a question on whether his colleagues would form a security outfit like Amotekun in the South West, restated the commitment of the governors of the northern part of the country to community policing.

He attributed the controversy over quit notice to herders in parts of the country to communication problems and the handiwork of “conflict merchants”, saying the issue was resolved through the intervention of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

He said: “On the issue of insecurity and the question of formation of outfits to address it, when it was thrown open, in the north, we decided to favour community policing because people have their different kinds of traditions.

“We are already implementing community policing; in my state, we have already trained 700, we are still going to train 700 more community police in addressing some of those things. In the Southwest, yes, they prefer Amotekun, but recently when we had clash, we had to come in quickly.

“You recall that when there was quit notice, I am the Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, I also saw heat coming up for me, but with maturity, we were able to resolve that issue through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and you saw representation moving to Ondo State to address the issue.

“Some of those issues are usually communication problems. In the midst of it, you will also see conflict merchants, some people are conflict merchants, without conflicts, they don’t survive. We don’t want minor issues to turn into serious conflicts and I am very happy that with the intervention of Governors’ Forum, the issue was addressed.”

The coming vaccine

On COVID-19 vaccine, he said the governors from the north were ready to take the vaccine when it arrives the country and dismissed the conspiracy theory being disseminated by some governors.

He said: “The last issue that you mentioned about COVID-19 vaccination, personally I have addressed people. I have done sensitisation in my state and I have told them, at the Northern States Governors’ Forum that when the vaccine comes, we should show example by being the first to take and they also agreed. We are ready to offer ourselves for vaccination.

“Now, we are drumming up sensitisation. We have quarreled with some of our colleagues who say they don’t believe in it and my question is if the President believes in it, who else would say he doesn’t believe in it? The President believes in it, he sets up the PTF and money is going into addressing those issues, he recently reeled out the regulations.

“So, why will anybody say there’s no COVID-19 and you cannot address it? If you don’t want it, personally, yes, but not when you are protecting people. I recently saw, may be they have not come out to tell you, some of those states that claimed they don’t have it, their people have gone for service and the moment they got tested, they discovered many of those from such states are positive.

“So, if it’s not in your state, why are corpers from your state testing positive? We must be able to address issues, when they are of common interest and also for the benefit of the people to come out and say this is out of it. It’s not about religion or politics. When you have a claim of scientific research, it is only another scientific research that can counter it. That’s my option.”

He added: “So, I agree with you that we need a lot of sensitization, not only us governors, including you the journalists, to be able to drum it. In my state, just in the last two weeks, I have lost prominent personalities, I mean we’ve buried VIPs; from Assistant Inspector General of Police to so many other big time people. Those are prominent people, what of the ordinary person who will die and no one will put his name in the newspaper?

If we have to address issues, let us address them. I like what the President did by issuing the regulations, which we are going to implement. People who want to run away from vaccine, they can’t run away from enforcement of the protocols.”