ACF, Afenifere others disagree as Senate knocks governors negotiating with bandits
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The Senate has called on the Federal Government to direct states on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which is aimed at establishing ranches and eliminating open grazing.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly also berated governors negotiating with bandits, saying such negotiations were fuelling banditry.
The senators stated these on Wednesday during an extensive debate on a motion by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, on the growing insecurity in all parts of the country.
In its reactions, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria supported the lawmakers’ suggestion for the establishment of ranches.
But the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and its northern counterpart, the Arewa Consultative Forum disagreed on governors negotiating with bandits.
Recall that the Federal Government had in 2019 earmarked N100bn for the NLTP, which was conceived to settle nomadic herdsmen.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the inauguration of the NLTP at the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of Adamawa on September 9, 2019, had said, “It is a plan that hopes to birth tailor-made ranches where cattle are bred, and meat and dairy products are produced using modern livestock breeding and dairy methods.”
According to him, seven pilot states for the scheme are Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.
On Wednesday, the Senate said the plan would prevent farmer-herder conflicts and activate a highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.
It also called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led regime to immediately embark on an operation to eliminate proliferation of firearms.
It called for the immediate enforcement of the laws against illegal possession of firearms by arresting, disarming and punishing anyone in illegal possession of arms.
It stressed the need for governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene state-wide inter-communal conclaves and dialogues to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony.
The Senate also asked Buhari to direct the National Security Adviser and the newly nominated service chiefs and the Inspector- General of Police to devise a proposal to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
It stressed the need for the deployment of forces for more effective counter-measures against the current security challenges, particularly in the rural areas
The red chamber urged the security agencies to actively deploy drones and helicopters in monitoring forests and ungoverned areas in Nigeria, to identify illegal camps of bandits.
The Senate lamented the constant invasion of Nigeria by armed herdsmen from foreign countries and urged the Federal Government to adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigerian Customs Service to police and monitor the borders.
It also called on the Federal Government to resuscitate and inaugurate the National Task Force Commission to combat the proliferation of light weapons, small arms and ammunition.
The Senate admitted that the ECOWAS protocols that guarantee free movement of goods and people in the West African sub-region was doing more harm than good in Nigeria.
It therefore called for the review of the relevant ECOWAS protocols in the interest of peace in the country.