The federal government will soon begin remodelling grazing reserves into ranches in seven states in Nigeria as it moves towards implementing its controversial National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), Bashir Usman, disclosed this on Tuesday, at a training workshop on the remodelling exercise held in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Mr Usman said this is part of the government’s efforts to transform and modernise the country’s livestock industry through the NLTP.
This newspaper reported how the Nigerian government announced the (Rural Grazing Area (Ruga) programme for willing states to contribute large areas of land for the construction of animal husbandry settlements.
The presidency at the time said 12 states had indicated willingness to be part of Ruga, despite many Nigerians criticising the programme and many state governors opposing it.
Against the backdrop of the strident criticism of Ruga in parts of the country, the federal government in July suspended it and announced the NLTP in its place.
The NLTP includes programmes for rehabilitation of displaced IDPs resulting from the conflict between farmers and herders, and the development of ranches in any willing state of the federation.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who chaired a committee that played a role in the design of the NLTP, said it is a voluntary programme.
“It is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme,” he said
He said any state interested was required to bring up a development plan in line with the programme.
There are several game reserves (national parks) in the country with the Nigeria National Park Service (NNPS) responsible for preserving, enhancing, protecting and managing vegetation and wild animals in the parks.
The NNPS is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of the Environment and is headed by a Conservator General. It works closely with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.
According to the Punch Newspaper, the training in Zaria was organised by NCNE for 120 nomadic education extension agents and other officers of the commission.
Speaking through the Director, Social Mobilisation and Women Development in the commission, Mohammed El-Nafaty, Mr Usman listed Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Kaduna and Zamfara as the selected states.
He said the existing grazing reserves had already been carved out, demarcated and gazetted.