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Tension In Plateau Over Grazing Reserve

Plateau State in the past few weeks has been characterized with the growing tension of land being appropriated for grazing and ranches

The tension gathered momentum when the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbe, came out with a list of eleven states including the FCT saying that the states  have agreed to contribute lands for the purpose of the establishment of grazing reserves for herdsmen and Plateau state was listed as one of the eleven states that have indicated interest in providing land.

This singler statement from the Minister has sparked off reactions from different quarters especially from notable sons of the soil.

Earlier the immediate past governor now senator representing Plateau North, Jonah Jang had issued a statement condemning the moves by Governor Simon Lalong led administration to implement grazing reserves policy in the State.

He noted that, he does not and
will not support any grazing reserve either on the floor of the senate or any forum/platform where the issue is discussed.

According to him “The issue has generated a lot of controversy amongst Plateau people because government has decided to play politics with issues that affect the very fabric which defines the heritage of our people, their culture and their land”, he said.

In another reaction, a group operating under the aegis of Plateau G-17 Youths for Peace and Progress Forum, on Monday in Jos, kicked against the Grazing Reserve bill and ranches calling on the state government to rethink and retrace it’s steps on its earlier decision and delist Plateau from the states that have agreed to contribute lands for the purpose of the grazing reserve. The group also protested against the bill, stressing that it is in keeping with the mood of the majority of citizens of the state and demonstrating governments responsiveness to the wishes of the people on this matter.

Speaking to newsmen after the protest, the converner of the protest, Dachung Musa Bagos, said, “the Plateau state government must be careful not to take decision that would mortgage our future and that of generations yet unborn with the likely consequences of further throwing the state into a state of chaos as the policy has been rejected by majority of the people of the state.

“We therefore wish to state, unequivocally that we stand here today, in protest against any form of land grabbing and exclusive privileges to any group, under the guise of a government sponsored grazing reserve policy”.

However, the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA), worried by the development of the growing tension arising from the discourse on the planned creation of grazing reserve and ranches in Langtang North and Mikang LGA’s of Plateau State, has appealed to the people of the state not to jeopardize the relative peace currently being enjoyed in the state, stressing that the highly emotive dimension to which both opponents and supporters of the ranching pilot scheme have approached the matter and that any further escalation of this growing tension might end up jeopardizing the gains of the relative Peace that currently pervades the landscape.

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