By Onitsha Shedrack——
Contrary to the fear currently been expressed many states in the nation, the Federal Government has said it will neither force people to surrender land nor seize anybody’s land for grazing reserves or ranch development in Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said when he received a delegation from Oyo state government, led by the Special Adviser on Projects to the Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, a statement by the ministry on Sunday night said.
According to the government, about 6,000 applicants have indicated interest in cattle breeding improvement programmes in Nigeria to improve on the country’s food security.
Government added that it would continue to work with state governments with respect to getting land for the development of ranches across the country, but will not forcefully takeover peoples land for grazing reserves or ranches, as been feared in many states.
It would be recalled that in the past three months, there have been protests about reported plans by the government to establish grazing reserves in the country.
Only last week, a group of youths in Plateau State took to the streets to protest against the reported inclusion of the state among those that had agreed to contribute lands for the purpose of establishing grazing reserves.
But Ogbeh was quoted as saying, “The Federal Government is not going to seize anybody’s land or force people to surrender land for ranches.”
He pledged support for Oyo State in its bid to optimally develop its agricultural potentials and encouraged the state to leverage on the abundant rainfall in the region to develop ranches for cattle breeding improvement programme.
He added, “I think ranching is something that can be controlled and it is something that can be carried out in Oyo State by farmers who want to do so, and for that we can give some support.”
Ogbeh explained that the Federal Government would collaborate with state governments to expand the country’s irrigation systems, adding that Kano and Oyo states had the highest number of dams, as both states had 23 and 22 dams respectively.