The southeastgovernors have called it quits from the federal government’s National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) proposed by the National Economic Council (NEC) to address the lingering crisis between farmers and herdsmen.
The governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Dave Umahi said in an interview that although the NLTP is a voluntary programme of the federal government, just like the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the southeast would not be part of it, given the controversy and misinterpretation of the whole idea.
ThisDay reports that Umahi’s chief press secretary, Mr. Emma Uzor, who spoke on behalf of the governor, said the plan would best benefit the north because the region has a comparative advantage in terms of livestock farming.
The governor said the NLTP would restrict the movements of the herders within the north since the region would now have access to whatever they need.
“We believe that the programme will help solve the long standing challenge of farmer-herder clashes in the country as they can have access to whatever amount of money they need to run their business,” he said.
On whether it is in line with federal government’s formerly proposed rural grazing area settlement plan, Umahi said it was a different idea because anybody interested in going into livestock farming could access the fund and not just the herdsmen.
“If you use to rear cows before, you can now have piggery as part of the business. It is left for you to know how to do your business without infringing on anybody’s right” he stated.
Also commenting on the issue, Enugu State government said it would accept whatever position the Southeast Governors’ Forum takes on the NLTP as it does not have any position of its own.
Secretary to the state government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, said whatever decision the forum took would be binding on the state.
“We do not have our own position on the matter and as such, we are going to abide by whatever position that is agreed upon by the forum provided it is going to be in the best interest of our people,” he said.
It would be recalled that the National Economic Council chaired by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had last week approved N100 billion to support the take-off of the NLTP.
NEC’s approval came barely a week after the northern governors rose from a meeting in Kaduna on September 12, to embrace the programme initiated by the federal government, to curb persistent clashes between farmers and herders.
Umahi who chaired the Sub-committee on Herders-farmers Crisis, had said that 80 per cent of the amount will come from the federal government as grant to the beneficiary states while such states would contribute the 20 per cent balance.