Chairman, Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong has said that the National Livestock Transformation Plan has nothing to do with the controversal Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), project.
As such, he said, his counterparts in the 19 Northern States should therefore form a common front on ways to draw from the funds provided under the plan for the benefit of the people and the region.
Lalong who was addressing the opening of an emnegency meeting of the Forum in Kaduna on Thursday, explained that Nigerians were being misinformed about the project which has alot of benefits.
According to the Forum Chairman, the programme would through market driven ranches, improve productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water Utilisation.
“The issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, mis-information and even politicization.
You are aware of the many attempts to find lasting solutions to the incessant Farmer-Herder clashes, cattle rustling and associated criminalities such as banditry, kidnapping among others.
“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 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 utilization.
“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 synergize and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people.
“Hopefully, we shall develop strategies on how best to deal with the misinformation about the NLTF, which is sometimes confused with the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.
“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.
‘In the course of our engagements here in Kaduna, we shall commission the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Shopping Mall which was awarded in 2014 with the aim of consolidating the investment portfolio of the Company and promoting its mission of advancing the commercial and industrial development of our region.
“You will recall that we set up a committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar to study the current structure, mission and vision of the company and come up with a road map on how best to resuscitate and re-invigorate the Company.
We have to think out of the box especially when it comes to the economy of our region which has so much needs that are staring us in the face every day.
“We also have to continue our discourse on how to solve the Almajiri phenomenon which continues to be a social and security challenge that we cannot, but find solutions to.
“I therefore urge us all to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist us come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move our region to the next level.
“We cannot afford to do otherwise because our people have entrusted us with their mandate and look up to us in dealing with their day to day challenges, which include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.
“It is on this note that I welcome you to this emergency meeting as we receive some reports and deliberate on the issues outlined.
Most of the member States are being represented by Deputy Governors with the exception of Zamfara and Jigawa while Kogi is totally absent.