Northern Governors Dump RUGA Policy For Livestock Plan

The Northern Governor’s Forum (NGF) on Thursday evening in Kaduna agreed to dump the proposed controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) policy for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

Simon Lalong
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong

The governors pointed out the new plan adopted is aimed at tackling the regular clashes in the region between herders and farmers.

According to reports, the governors also resolved to continue to adopt a sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling the security challenges in the region.

Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong said at the opening that the NGF had raised a committee under the chairmanship of Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari to develop a comprehensive regional action plan to tackle insecurity in the North.

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He said: “Another major issue we shall also deliberate on is the livestock management in the country and, in particular, our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, misinformation and even politicisation.

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“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 (SAN) 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 utilisation.

“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 synergise 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.”

Lalong told reporters that the NGF adopted the NLTP, which according to him, “lays out clear path for modernising pastoral activities”.

He said: “On agriculture, the forum was well-informed about the NLTP 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 modernisation 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 modernising pastoral activities. It further encouraged other states not included as pilot states to endeavour to join the plan.”

On the security challenges, 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.”

Lalong said the forum has received a brief on the almajiri phenomenon in Northern Nigeria, which he said, is not only endemic but pandemic.

He said: “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 with experts in this field with a view to finding implementable recommendations to solve the almajiri phenomenon and take children out of the streets.”

(The Nation)

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