From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has advised his southern counterparts not to dissipate energy on anti-open grazing laws that cannot be implemented.
Speaking when he paid a short visit at the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, Governor El-Rufai revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has supported his state with N7.5 billion out of the N10 billion required to build a ranch.
He also disclosed that since there are over 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State he would want to convert into ranching, he would be glad if the Federal Government can support his state with N140 billion to develop the 14 grazing reserves.
The Kaduna governor cautioned southern governors that it is unhelpful politicising grazing rights and passing legislation that they know cannot be implemented.
Asked his take on the controversial law on open grazing, the governor said: ‘The northern state governors forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.
‘But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan, we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution.
‘We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that.
‘And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution, a long time. But can it be done overnight? No,’ he said.
‘This project we are doing will cost us about N10 billion. The CBN is supporting us with about N7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do. We will be settling about 1,500 Fulani herder families.
‘And I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem.
‘What is unhelpful is to politicise the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position.
‘And these herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralise them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is causing 10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State and I will like to convert them into ranching. Do I have 14 times 10 billion naira? I don’t have.
‘If the Federal Government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion, I will convert the other thirteen into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna State because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck,’ he said.
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