President Muhammadu Buharis Special Adviser on Media and Publicity,
The National Economic Council (NEC) recently presented the National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027) as its new initiative to put an end to the agelong herders-farmers crisis and massively improve the livestock industry.
The initiative stipulates that ranching is the way forward for cattle herding in the country and named 10 states as the pilot states to launch the plan.
While speaking during an interview on Africa Independent Television, published on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Adesina said providing land for ranching will resolve the conflict and bring about peace. According to him, states that have land should make them available for the federal government to implement its plan.
When questioned about the fairness of issuing local people's ancetral lands for ranching, the president's spokesman said giving up the land for ranching is better than being dead.
He said, "Ancestral attachment? You can only have attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, what does the attachment matter? What does it matter again?
"The National Economic Council that recommended ranching went round those states; it didn't just legislate it, there were consultations.
"So, if a state does not have land genuinely, it's understood. Not every state will have ranches. You don't have to have ranches in 36 states. Where you have land and you can do something, please do for peace.
"What would the land be used for if those who own it are dead at the end of the day? It's better to live on the land than under the land."
Under the plan, cattle herders are expected to be registered and recognised with cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme. These cooperatives will then be able to get rental agreements for land from state governments and also benefit from ranch resources on several terms including loans, grants, and subsidies.
The funding of the plan from the federal government and state governments is expected to last for the first three years in the pilot phase for a total of N70 billion while private sector interests and investment between the third and tenth year is expected to be in excess of N100 billion.
The proposed ranch size models, according to the plan, is a cluster of 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows ranched in a location within the donated reserves.
Presidency maintains that killings are sponsored
Adesina further reiterated the federal government's position that there are people who are fueling the conflict between herders and farmers, a conflict that has resulted in the death of hundreds of people.
He noted that two states that had willingly donated land for ranching witnessed increased spate of killings which he suspects were done to escalate the conflict.
He said, "Some people said don't use government money to build those ranches. Some people don't want want solution.
"If truly they don't have land, that's fine; but remember that Kogi State offered 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony and a week or two after that offer, vicious killings were unleashed on that state. So, it shows you that it goes beyond what we're saying.
"Plateau State, where we had the recent orgy of killing, has offered land for ranches. So, I tell you that some people are interested in these things not being resolved."
Adesina said that community leaders, traditional rulers, local government chairpersons and state governments are pivotal to resolving the crisis.