The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday, described the flag-off of the N6.25 billion Katsina ranch as the end-game for the incessant and controversial herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria.
Okechukwu, while speaking with journalists in Abuja, said the flag-off was the most important news event last week that trended in the media contrary to most headlines which posted electronic transmission of election results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the most important event of the week.
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He expressed surprise that the issue didn’t get the prominence it deserved.
Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina had announced that the federal government approved N6.52 billion for ranch development in the state, and disclosed that N5 billion of the amount had already been paid into the state government’s account.
“This is the first direct intervention through the state government with regard to federal government’s ranch development initiative,” Governor Masari added.
The VON DG, while speaking on the reason he rated ranch development as more important than the transmission of election results electronically, said it was because of the harms posed by the herders/farmers clashes to the corporate existence of the country that Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President and the Governors of the 36 states under the National Economic Council (NEC) came up in 2018 with the blueprint of National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) as a panacea.
Okechukwu said: “The Katsina Ranch is a poster boy of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, good news and we need more urgently.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to fast-forward ranch development nationwide, pledging his community land for ranch development.
He added: “I doubt if there is any farming community in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt that did not lose one person. What of food insecurity unleashed by herders/farmers clashes? And you talk of polarization of the country; methinks the clashes polarised our dear countrymen more than elections. It regrettably promoted our fault lines.
“The truism is that the rise of separatist non-state actors like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho is fueled by herders/farmers clashes. Their supporters are mostly victims of the clashes.
“Even us, the Buharists, are at pains on how the herders/farmers clashes more or less blurred the unprecedented Buhari’s agrarian revolution and rendered irrelevant Mr President’s strides in physical infrastructure.
“Please, I’m not saying that electronic transmission of results is not important, but we should not forget that democracy is in recession worldwide and going by local parlance, APC and PDP are the same coin.”