Northern Governors have now dumped the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) for the National Livestock Implementation Plan (NLIP) under the auspices of the National Economic Council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
They disclosed this after they rose from their emergency meeting in Kaduna where they stated that the National Plan is the best way to tackle the age long herder/farmers clashes in the region.
This was as the Governors resolved to continue to adopt a sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling the security challenges in the region.
Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, Governor Simon Lalong had told newsmen at the opening of the meeting that, the forum had set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, to develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises, and shall receive briefing from this committee and also deliberate on their findings and recommendations.
Acccording to him, “Another major issue we shall also deliberate on is the issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, mis-information and even politicization.
“At this meeting, we shall deliberate on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which was commissioned by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and seeks to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water utilization.
“As a region that holds the comparative advantage in livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural vocation, we need to come up with a common front on how to synergize and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people.
“This is important because of the urgent need to cultivate the buy-in of all stakeholders and provide a conducive environment for nomadic herders and those who rear livestock using the private/public partnership model to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government,” he said.
At the end of the meeting, Lalong said, the forum has adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which according to him, lays out clear path for modernizing pastoral activities.
According to him, “On Agriculture, the Forum was well informed about the National Livestock Transformation Plan and its disparities with the Ruga plan it is expected that the plan would ensure resettling and addressing the dislocated populations in the key conflict zones to enable them become part of the agricultural modernization process.
“In the same vein, it would provide a mechanism for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation in the affected communities towards a harmonious mutually beneficial future.
“The Forum therefore adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan which lays out clear path for modernizing pastoral activities
It further encouraged other states not included as pilot states to endevour to join the plan.” He said.
On the security challenges, Governor Lalong said, “The current challenges of insecurity which seems to be persisting despite the concerted efforts by all tiers of government was also deliberated based on insightful analyses and the best possible ways to address the menace which is currently bedeviling the region.
“Consequently the Forum resolved to continue to adopt a sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling this challenge in the region.
“It is the Forum’s unwavering determination to rescue the region and reposition it to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people, especially in the areas of security, economy and social development.” He explained.
The Forum’s Chairman stated further that, it received brief on the almajiri phenomenon in Northern Nigeria which he said, is not only endemic but pandemic.
According to him, “we noted the challenges of the system despite its conception on high religious and moral importance. Currently, many children are increasingly exposed to vulnerability and resultant exploitation, thereby making them susceptible to criminal activities.
“The Forum after in-depth discussions, resolved to collaborate further with experts in this field with a view to finding implementable recommendations to solve the almajiri phenomenon and take children out of the streets.” He stressed
In the course of our engagements in Kaduna, the forum chairman commissioned the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Shopping Mall which was awarded in 2014 with the aim of consolidating the investment portfolio of the Company and promoting its mission of advancing the commercial and industrial development of the northern region.