The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has adopted the National Livestock Transformation Programme to address the problems associated with the practice of open grazing.
The Chairman of the forum, Dr Simon Lalong, while speaking at the 7th annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture in Kaduna, called on the federal government to release funds to willing states to start.
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He noted that some states have already begun the process of ending open grazing in their states.
He said: “Kaduna has a ranch with DANO milk as a pilot; Plateau has sent a Bill on Ranching to the State Assembly, Zamfara, Kano, Taraba, Niger and Nasarawa have started ranching constitutions while Benue has had an anti-grazing law for some years.”
He stated that the Northern governors have been at the forefront of pushing for solutions to open grazing, adding that: “Contrary to some mischiefs and insinuation arising from the resolutions by the Southern Governors that the Northern Governors have done nothing about the issue of open grazing, we were actually the first to take a collective decision that the practice of open grazing is no longer sustainable.”
Speaking on the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “The days of paper qualification are over and if we are to build economic prosperity in the era of COVID-19, then we must encourage our youth to become entrepreneurs and employment creators rather than job seekers.”
Speaking as the Chief Host, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said that 60 years after the death of the first Premier of Northern Nigeria and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the region is yet to have quality leaders.
He noted that Ahmadu Bello was the greatest leader North ever had, adding that: “We must improve the quality of our leaders in the North.
“We must produce leaders that care for the People.
“I don’t mean political leaders alone, also leaders in public service, in the military, in the traditional institutions and the religion. We need quality leaders, not quantity leaders in the North.
“Nigeria population will be about 500 million by 2050. We must provide jobs for the population especially in the North,” he stated.
While speaking on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “A governor infected me with COVID-19 virus and I brought it to Kaduna. I was locked up for 26 days. My wives ran away from me.
“50 thousand people in Kaduna would have died of COVID-19 last year, but for the fact that Kaduna State was the first to lockdown.
“I am happy to say that because of COVID-19, we have been able to put in place infections disease wards in our hospitals.”
On his part, Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the foundation, Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu, said the problem posed by the COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown was exacerbated by general insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, conflict of herdsmen and farmers, separatists, general murder and killings.