Lalong Defies Criticism, Budgets N250m for Cattle Ranches in Plateau

  • Sacks cabinet

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

In spite of several waves of criticisms across the country and Plateau State against government’s sponsorship of cattle ranches, the state Governor, Simon Lalong, has taken the bull by the horns by budgeting the sum of N250 million for the establishment and management of cattle ranches in his state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Sani Yahaya, disclosed this THURSday during the breakdown of 2018 budget of N146.4 billion held at the state’s cabinet office, Jos.

Yahaya said: “The agriculture sub-sector is receiving a boost in this year’s budget, with the state government allocating the sum of N4.1 billion to the sub-sector, representing 5.7 per cent of the capital estimate, and N250 million was earmarked for the establishment and management of ranches.”

The governor’s action was possibly informed by the unabated clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen resulting in wanton loss of lives and property; he believes that with the establishment of ranches, further clashes will be prevented.

Lalong had said his administration was not considering establishment of grazing reserve and cattle colonies contrary to speculations making the rounds in the state, adding that government has no right to colonise any local government area in the state for any reason.

But several persons in the state, including the senator representing Plateau North and former Governor of the state, Jonah David Jang, have cautioned Lalong against using government’s money to establish ranches, saying cattle rearing is a private business like many other businesses and should not be sponsored by government for any reason.
He said: “Ranches is a private business and that individuals should cough out money and purchase land from the locals to run their business.”

Yahaya, however, promised that Lalong’s administration would continue to maintain its stand on dealing decisively with any citizen both in public and private sector that try to frustrate efforts of revenue authorities and the task.

He said this year’s budget would be well implemented as the budget has been approved in good time, and we shall explore all necessary avenues to source for funds to finance it.”

Meanwhile, the governor has announced the sack of his cabinet in a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Samuel Emmanuel Nanle.

While expressing appreciation to the commissioners for their selfless service and immense contributions to his government in delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state, Lalong wished them the best in their future endeavours.

Lalong assured them that as stakeholders in the Plateau project, their wealth of experience would continuously be relied upon “in building the state of our dream.”

The statement directed the commissioners to hand over to permanent secretaries in their respective ministries.