The National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday declared that the N100 billion budget for the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) does not accommodate foreign pastoralists.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State had on Monday during a live programme reportedly said Fulani herdsmen from Chad, Niger and other neighbouring countries would benefit from the scheme.
He had argued that since the herders were nomadic, it would be inappropriate to exclude them from the initiative on account of their nationalities.
The governor, whose state is among the beneficiaries, had also noted that Fulani exist across Africa and share a brotherhood which transcends boundaries.
Asked how the government would ensure that only Nigerians benefited from the livestock plan, Mohammed had submitted: “I think there is a lot of mistrust and misconception as regards the Fulani man. The Fulani man is a global or African person. He moves from The Gambia to Senegal and his nationality is Fulani.”
The NLTP, which is targeted at supporting the development of Nigeria’s livestock sector, is to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.
The plan is being executed as a collaborative project among the federal and state governments, farmers, pastoralists and the private sector.
But fielding questions from State House correspondents after the NEC meeting involving the 36 governors yesterday in Abuja, the Ebonyi State chief executive, Dave Umahi, stated categorically that foreign herders were not part of the project.
Joined by his Edo and Gombe counterparts, Godwin Obaseki and Mohammed Inuwa, Umahi said the plan was not just for cows, but a holistic strategy to address animal husbandry.
The Ebonyi governor, who doubles as chairman of NEC’s sub-committee on national food security and herders/farmers conflict, reiterated: “A N100 billion budget was proposed by the committee to support the project.
“The Federal Government is to provide 80 per cent in grant, while the states will contribute land, personnel and 20 per cent cost of the project.”
He added that the meeting “resolved that there is need to look at the trans-human West African regional protocol, (as) you cannot allow such movement of cattle without registration and monitoring.”
Besides, the council confirmed the loss of 22.6 million barrels of crude oil valued approximately at $1.35 billion to pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region in the first half of this year.
Governor Obaseki, who chaired the ad hoc committee on oil theft, while submitting the panel’s report yesterday, warned that the development portends a great danger for the economy if left unchecked.