Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said yesterday that he warned his Benue State counterpart Samuel Ortom when he was planning the anti-Open Grazing law.
He felt Ortom should have exploited other ways to deal with the herders situation before enforcing the law.
Lalong, who spoke with reporters at the Villa yesterday said:“I told the governor of Benue when he was doing the law, I said look, why don’t you tread softly, just be careful, take other steps before you start implementation.
“But you see states are different, his own concept and that of our own in Plateau is different. I said I will not do the law before implementation. I have not developed the ranching areas so I cannot go and say I put a law. To stop who? If I stop the people what is the alternative.
“So I said do consultations allow the people to understand and buy into the concept.” he said
He said all the tribes in the state accepted ranching as the solution to the herders crisis.
“Last year, I sent a 12-member team to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, they spent almost a week there to study and the team was headed by former Vice Chancellor of University of Jos, Professor Onazi. We went round all the communities in Plateau, it took three months and Plateau people including the Fulanis accepted that we must embrace ranching.
“Ranching as a concept is a policy and there are states realizing the importance of the policy. I cannot wake up like some people said last year that I should go and do anti-grasing Law. And I asked anti-grazing law for what? We are talking about ranching, we are talking about development of livestock business and I cannot use the word anti to start driving people who are interested. It is for those who are interested to come and get involve in it.
“Secondly, I can’t implement anti-grazing law. There are levels of implementation which will require government intervention, provision of ranchers and thirdly, when you are talking of ranching it is a component of agriculture business you will also require subsidy. Subsidy must come from federal and state governments and by the time we develop it and put every structure on ground, then we can bring laws to regulate the implementation. So I don’t want to jump one step before the other.” he said
On the purpose of his visit to the President, he said “I just returned from my vacation and I felt I should come and see Mr. President especially as my state celebrated Christmas and New Year peacefully..
“With the support I am getting from Mr. President we are having relative peace. So I came to brief him especially when you see insecurity in neighbouring states so that if there are areas of improvement, we will also do the improvement so that we don’t have cases like we are saying.”
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