No To FG’s Ranches


In spite of stiff opposition against the establishment of Federal Government’s financed ranches, especially by State governments in the South-East, South-South, South-West and North Central zones, the Federal Government appears bent on floating 94 pilot ranches in 10 States of the federation.
Under the first phase, Adamawa, Benue, Oyo, Plateau, Edo, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara will be accommodated in the first tranch that will cost N70 billion.
In the same vein, the Federal Government also plans to spend another N170 billion for the second phase in the next three years to cover States yet to be named.
While we welcome the ranch initiative to address the mayhem currently being experienced in many States across the country, especially incessant acts of banditry and terrorism, we observe that such policy amounts to rewarding criminality. Rather than arrest and prosecute the bandits who operate in the guise of herdsmen, government is opting to provide ranches for them. It is indeed, unfortunate.
Rising from a meeting held at the Government House, Enugu, recently, five South-East governors resolved not to donate, lease or sell any part of the geo-political zone for ranching of cows, noting that the zone has no land for such project.
Similarly, some governors in the South-South zone have voiced their position not to accommodate such project in their States. In fact, some States, especially in the South-West, have already enacted laws against open grazing of cattle within their territorial jurisdiction.
Whereas The Tide appreciates the Federal Government’s concern to combat bloodletting and killing of innocent citizens, we think that the way forward may not necessarily lie in establishing government sponsored ranches.
Using public funds or tax-payers money to finance ranches for owners of cattle and other livestock which are entirely private enterprises amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul; and this, of course, may have far-reaching implications which government, perhaps, does not envisage for now.
While we endorse modern ways of rearing livestock, particularly, cattle as is the case in other civilised and advanced societies, we strongly believe that such venture should be left in the hands of cattle owners to negotiate with land owners and communities.
The reason is simple! When the Federal Government muzzles or forces ranches on States without negotiating with relevant stakeholders, the result which be tragic. It is even unimaginable when lands are forcefully acquired from communities who had lost their beloved ones to herders inflicted mayhem.
Quite frankly, the Federal Government may have good intention for floating such ranches to save lives and properties, but it is not advisable to solve one problem and end up creating multiple problems which may overwhelm security agencies.
We foresee a situation where poultry and fish farmers, as well as those engaged in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, groundnut, among others, will demand their own portion of Federal Government’s largesse to boost their business if the government insists on establishing ranches for herdsmen.
Perhaps, that informed the reason why the House of Representatives condemned the initiative recently and implored the Federal Government to have a re-think and possibly rescind the decision.
The Tide agrees no less with the lawmakers and other stakeholders who are opposed to the initiative.