Grazing Reserve: Jang, Lalong In War Of Words

protest against grazing reserve-plateauThe immediate past Governor of Plateau State now senator representing Plateau North, Jonah Jang and his successor, Simon Lalong, have disagreed over the alleged provision of 50,000 hectares of land towards the implementation of the federal government’s grazing reserve policy in the state.
Our correspondent reports that Plateau was listed among the 10 northern states and federal capital territory that have donated land for the establishment of grazing reserves.
While Sen. Jang described the endorsement of the establishment of grazing reserve as a subtle attempt to cede the peoples land and urged the citizens of the State to reject any law or request that seeks to tamper with their heritage, Gov. Lalong berated the ex-governor for suddenly finding his voice.
The former governor, in a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Clinton Garuba, stated that he does not and will not support any issue on grazing reserve.
He warned that the Lalong administration was playing politics with issues that affect the very fabric which defines the “heritage of our people, their culture and their land”.
Jang called on people of Plateau State to rise against any subtle attempt or otherwise to cede their land for the purpose of satisfying what he called “the selfish and egotistical whims of a few who are hell bent on disturbing the peace”.
The statement noted that “As a people who have experienced the atrocities of those who seek to take over their land by whatever means, Plateau people must be resilient in rejecting any law or request that seeks to tamper with their heritage, not even the involvement of the Government of the day should deter them”.
While accusing his successor of lack of interest in developing agriculture in the state, Senator Jang wondered why Lalong suddenly threw his weight behind a policy which he said is neither in the interest of people nor that of public good.
“For the Federal Government which owns no cattle, to connive with willing State Governors to impose a grazing reserve policy on hapless citizens who have suffered the brunt of rampaging herdsmen in the no distant past is not only an abuse of their rights but an assault on their already battered psyche. This must vehemently be resisted”, Jang added.
However, Governor Lalong described his predecessor’s omment as sad, noting that “Senator Jonah Jang has suddenly found his voice in the midst of the silence that has characterized his representation of the Northern Senatorial district in the Senate”.
Lalong in a statement issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Samuel Emmanuel Nanle, noted that the “blatant condemnation of the grazing reserve policy as being anti-people, without the depth of knowledge as to the content of the policy and many options for cattle rearing, livestock farming and improved animal husbandry which it contains is an eloquent testimony of his ‘we’ versus ‘them’ classification of citizens, even when the preservation of the common humanity of the human being should be held sacrosanct”.
The statement explained that the issue of grazing reserve and ranches are options that are entirely within the purview of the customary land owners and local councils to volunteer for the benefits of their people adding that “Governor Lalong has not at any point acquired compulsorily any land in any locality for the purpose of ceding to any ethnic group or faith”.
It added that “it is public knowledge that this is incongruent to his person and people oriented leadership character”.