The Governor of Plateau state, Simon Lalong has said his administration in line with the disposition of the federal government has decided to introduce ranches as a means growing livestock in the state and curb frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Speaking with journalists at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday, the governor said his administration would exploit agriculture development in the state by providing incentives and sustaining the existing peace through efforts aimed at promoting good neighbourliness and tolerance, adding that residents of the state who came from diverse ethnic groups have been encouraged to live together in peace.
“What is on in Plateau is the policy on ranches, which is quite different from grazing. Although all of them have been there a long time ago; grazing has been there and ranches have been there, owned by individuals and organisations, but the security problem we have across the nation and the need to diversify into agriculture make it necessary for the production of livestock in large quantities. So you cannot leave that to only traditional grazing. That is why we introduced this policy of having ranches. The ranches are everybody’s business for growing livestock and not restricted to any ethnic group,” Lalong said.
On the efforts he had made to sustain peace in the state, Lalong said that the people of the state who are from diverse ethnic groups had been living together before the crisis that erupted some years ago, but noted that his administration has put certain measures in place to maintain and sustain peace in the state.
He said his administration established Peace and Conflict Resolution Bureau to pre-empt conflict situations and resolve them before they erupt into crisis.
“The people of Plateau state have been living together and shared a lot of things in common but unfortunately crisis stated but we have been able to enthrone peace now. When we came in we gave everybody a sense of belonging and looked at the ways the people could live together in peace, looked at the submissions and ways to sustain peaceful co-existence in the state. We established Peace and Conflict Resolution Bureau, passed the law in the House of Assembly and have the agency on ground for the purpose of checking areas where there could be conflict and nip it in the bud.
“Even when the issue of grazing arose, it was the Peace and Conflict Resolution Bureau that went to sensitize people. That was why the crisis was short-lived and we have made it clear that we are going for ranches. We are now adopting ranches. We have done our consultations with all the critical stakeholders,” the governor said.
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