The Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has rejected the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari regime, arguing that the policy makes no economic sense.
The group questioned Buhari's rationale, stating that to use Nigeria's resources to convert herdsmen, the majority of whom are non-Nigerians from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles while doing their private business.
"It is akin to the government making budgetary allocations to Coca Cola to produce drinks to sell to Nigerians,” the SMBLF stated in a statement on Thursday after a meeting in Abuja signed by its spokespersons, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Professor Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Bassey Henshaw (South-South), and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).
The leaders claimed that the Buhari regime had “busied itself with policies that are divisive and smack of domination and conquest of sections of the country by a section".
It said, "The NLTP will only escalate the clashes between the indigenous communities and cattle settlers as experiences in southern and Middle Belt areas of Nigeria have shown that the Fulani imports do
not assimilate into the ways of lives of Nigerians in those parts of the country where they reside.
“They live apart from the locals and set up communities with an alien culture that disrupts the cultural flow of the indigenes.
“The subterfuge of the whole deal is exposed in that while government officials deceive Nigerians that the plan will stop open grazing for ranching, option 1 in it provides for the establishment of corridors
for migrant cattle with feeding and watering points along the routes. This is as stark as the lie that ‘livestock’ includes other sources of meat. The entire plan is about cattle and herdsmen.”
The SMBLF said further, "The Waterways Bill is another land-grabbing move like RUGA by ethnic supremacists who are working against the unity of the country. Major rivers in Nigeria can be made available,
by federal law if the bill is passed, to Fulani pastoralists and there is nothing the indigenous people within such vicinities can do about it.
“The police and the security agencies will be handy to enforce it and it will be another White farmers versus the African landowners' scenario in South Africa during the Apartheid season.”