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Oyo, Kogi, others reject ranching as Zamfara, Gombe starts

Williams Babalola
As state governments move to find a lasting solution to the killings and kidnapping by herders, there has been division amongst them over setting up ranches for herdsmen in each state in the country.
Officials of Oyo, Cross River, Kogi, Enugu, Ondo and Ekiti state governments who spoke in separate interviews ruled out the option of establishing ranches for herdsmen, a report by Punch states.
However, their counterparts in Zamfara and Gombe states disclosed they had begun plans to set up ranches for herdsmen.
According to the Zamfara State Director General Media, Publicity and Enlightenment, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, the state’s Ruga settlements is near completion while Director General, Press Affairs Government House, Gombe, Ismaila Misilli, disclosed that the state had acquired 130 hectares of land to kickstart the project.
But officials of other states described ranching as a private business, adding that interested investors should establish it.
Following increasing killings and kidnappings by herdsmen in the country,  there have been renewed calls on state and federal governments to establish ranches for herdsmen.
On his part, the Chief Press Secretary to Oyo State governor, Taiwo Adisa, reiterated that the government would not hinder herdsmen from carrying out their lawful businesses but insisted that the government would not sponsor a private business by building ranches for their livestock.
He said, “The Oyo State anti-open grazing law sees ranching as a personal business.  Herdsmen are free to apply for land for that purpose.”
Speaking, the Cross River State Government through the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to Governor Ben Ayade, Christian Ita, disclosed that the state has no plan to build a ranch for because there has been no clash between herders and others in the state.
He said, “We don’t have problems with herders. You only go into ranching if you have issues with them. We don’t have that problem in the state.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, who spoke on behalf of Ondo State Government said there was no plan to build a ranch in the state but vowed to maintain law and order in the state.
He stated, “Ranching is not in our plan.  The government still has an order in place to prevent herdsmen from clashing with farmers. This order is enough to prevent herdsmen clashes. We are peace-loving in this state.”
Also, the Kogi State Government ruled out the establishment of government ranches but promised to protect the interest of entrepreneurs in the state. It described ranching as a private business.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, who disclosed this, stated, “As you are aware, ranching is a private business and people have ranches even within the state. So it is not something new. Any interested entrepreneur can decide to have a ranch. It is acceptable and it is not only the Fulani that rear cattle. Our people are also doing well in that business.”
When contacted, the Osun State Commissioner for Information, Funke Egbemode, said the state would decide on ranches at the appropriate time, noting that what the state Governor, Gboyega  Oyetola, was concerned about was keeping all residents safe.
In Ekiti State, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Akin Omole, said the establishment of cattle ranches was not in the 2021 budget of the state, hence it might not come up in the next one year.
However, Zamfara State, through the Director-General Media, Publicity and Enlightenment, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, revealed that it would complete their three pilots Ruga settlements soon. He said the settlements are located in Maradun Local Government Area, Dansadau and Zurmi emirates.
The Director General,  Press Affairs Gombe Government House, Misilli, said the state had shown willingness to end herders/farmers clash in the state by donating the 130 hectare reserve.
According to Misilli, “Wawa Zange grazing reserve is one of the projects under the National Livestock  Transformation Plan designed to curb herders and farmers clash. The grazing reserve was handed over by the state government under Governor Inuwa Yahaya to the Federal Government as part of effort to curbing the challenge.”

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