The Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello has expressed readiness of the state to be testing ground for the cattle colonies being proposed by the Federal Government, as he refuted rumours that the policy is an indirect attempt by the Federal Government to take and handover ancestral land to herdsmen.
He maintained that there is no truth in the insinuations and speculations from various quarters that the Federal Government is conspiring to take over communal land and give it to herdsmen, through the cattle colonies policy.
Bello, in a statement issued in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs. Petra Onyegbule, reassured farmers and people of the state that the cattle colonies will be of immense benefits to farmers, citizens and residents of the state.
He pointed out that the Federal Government came up with the decision as a measure to quickly curb the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
The statement read: “The governor wishes to allay the fears of the citizens of Kogi State, especially on ownership of communal land, that the policy is never an indirect attempt by the Federal Government to take and handover ancestral land to herdsmen.
“To ensure that everyone is carried along in this process, Kogi State, through the Ministry of Agriculture, will soon be embarking on a series of stakeholders’ engagement to sensitise the people, farmers, cattle breeders and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new policy.
“The traditional rulers, leaders of various communities, opinion leaders, religious leaders and the entire citizens will all be carried along in the course of the stakeholders engagement, so that we can collectively study the merits and demerits of the policy.
“This will enable us to jointly find solutions to the demerit and at same time improve on the merits to make it work for our state and for our people without any form of grievances.”
While pointing out advantages of the proposed policy, Bello said: “The planned cattle colonies is for the interest of our people; to ensure their safety, develop and boost agricultural production; in turn boost the economy and a better life for all.
“It is a Federal Government initiative and the Federal Government will fund the project, but we will need to contribute our quota to this laudable initiative at the state level by making land available for the project in Kogi State and ensuring proper implementation to ensure the goal is achieved.”