Plateau State Livestock Transformation Bill 2020: PIDAN Cautions Stakeholders On Their Utterances.

FEBRUARY 11, 2022


Plateau State Livestock Transformation Bill 2020: PIDAN Cautions Stakeholders on their utterances.

  1. The Buhari Administration has battled with a range of challenges with gruesome effect on Nigerians one of which has been the herders-farmers’ clashes which had resulted in monumental losses of lives and properties worth billions of Naira. The Middlebelt appears to have fared worst with respect to the herders-farmers’ clashes with Plateau State having its more than fair share of the problem. Any effort that can have a modest mitigating effect on this problem should be welcome by all peace-loving Nigerians.
  2. The Federal Government formulated the Livestock Transformation Program (LTP) to address the farmers-herders crisis in addition to boosting the development of the livestock sector of the National Economy. A key aspect of the National Livestock Transformation Program is ranching and its implementation strategies designed to ensure that when implemented, it can largely minimize the herders-farmers clashes.
  3. The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt Hon Simon Bako Lalong quite early following the inception of the Program by the Federal Government, made it clear that, his administration will adopt the ranching strategy of the Livestock Transformation Plan (LTP). The LTP has its challenges and in the last three years the Lalong administration had engaged different stakeholders to address them and equally made its intention to implement this program in the State culminating in the Public hearing at the State House of Assembly of the State Livestock Transformation Bill 2020 on 26-01-22. Over 60 different organizations/representatives were invited comprising professional bodies, Ministries-Departments-Agencies (MDAs), religious and community based organizations to the public hearing. The Deputy Speaker who chaired the public hearing session took the pain to call each organisation to make its presentation including whether or not they support the bill. Apart from both Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu- Nasir Islam (JNI) which did not have representation at the hearing, other groups were represented and supported the bill with suggestions for minor changes. However, when, it came to the turn of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Plateau State Chapter, it’s representative said that they only saw a copy of the bill that morning and they were not in a position to make contribution for which they were given one week to do so. MACBAN, like other organizations was expected to communicate its position to the State Assembly Committee handling the public hearing and not to make press statements in a manner that heat the polity or attract disturbing public reactions.
  4. Ordinarily, PIDAN would not have commented on MACBAN submission, if it’s statement had been sent to the State House of Assembly as others did. However, MACBAN chose to make its statement more public through a press conference/release on 31-01-2022, thus inviting the opinion of the members of the public to its position as regards the draft bill. It became necessary for us as Plateau autochthones to examine the issues raised by MACBAN’s position and offer suggestions for both MACBAN and other stakeholders who may share similar views with MACBAN.
  5. First, the issues raised by MACBAN statement, as made available to the public, states among others, that ranching is alien to the livestock and animal husbandry development in the Africa subregion, it is capital intensive, implementing the bill will jeopardize the nascent peace in the State due to misconceptions of a lot of Fulani herders and the general public, the Fulani livestock is an unrancheable specie and the bill, as presently drafted, is meant to “rob and annihilate the Fulani of their lawful belongings.”
  6. The issue of using alien strategies such as ranching in Nigeria to advance sociology-economic development is not new. The fact that the National Livestock transformation Program recommends among others ranching of livestock, implies that the Federal Government has seen that ranching is a viable option and that states can mobilize the necessary resources to implement the program.
  7. The insinuation that the implementation of the bill will jeopardize the nascent peace is not supported by the views of most stakeholders at the public hearing who saw the bill as a strategic approach to curbing the incessant herders-farmers clashes and endorsed it. Some key objectives of the bill are to strengthen the peace on the Plateau through curbing the incessant herders-farmers clashes and boosting economic development of the State. It could be true that many Fulani had misconceptions about the bill, given the perception of MACBAN leadership, however, it is the responsibility of the MACBAN leadership to educate its members, the basis for which MACBAN had received invitations to represent them in all stakeholders’ interactions with Government on the matter.
  8. The concern by MACBAN that the Fulani livestock specie is unrancheable should not constitute a basis for rejecting the bill but rather present an opportunity for MACBAN to negotiate a system of replacement of the current specie since ranching is a Federal Government recommended strategy which the Plateau State Government bought into and the Federal Government is quite aware of the nature of the specie of cattle owned by peasant Fulani herders in Nigeria given the enriched Fulani background of Mr President.
  9. The last issue about the bill designed to “rob and annihilate the Fulani of their lawful belonging” is an unsubstantiated perception of the MACBAN leadership. However, MACBAN can point out what correction should be effected in the bill to allay their fears in this respect rather than recommending the non-enactment of the bill.
  10. Finally, it is essential to state that this is one bill that the Lalong administration has taken much time to accommodate different interest groups’ input into it. It is a strategic bill with huge potential to contribute to peace on the Plateau and the Bill did enjoy huge support by the plethora of stakeholders that attended the 26-01-2022 public hearing and we wish to enjoin all peace loving individuals and groups to join the advocacy train to ensure that the bill is finally drafted, accented to and implemented without further delay. This will certainly reduce the ongoing losses of lives and property from incessant herders-farmers clashes in Plateau State.

Prof. Aboi Madaki Comr Nanle Gujor
President Secretary General

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