Grazing/ranching tension: NGO, PPBA hold consultative forum

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    From KINGSLEY CHUKWUKA, Jos

    THE Grazing Ranching policy that has generated much tension in Plateau has gained the attention of a Non Governmental Organization code named, Search For Common Ground, funded by the European Union (EU), and the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA), which recently held a consultative forum to tactically find a common ground for all aggrieved parties.

    The consultative forum was the 5th so far held since the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, was quoted to have listed Plateau state as one of the states that have agreed to give out parcels of land for the purpose.

    However the state government led by Governor Simon Lalong has declared that the state government will respect the views of citizens over the new grazing reserve policy been discussed among stakeholders.

    Speaking at the forum, the Country director, Search for Common Ground, Mr. Rajendra Mulmi, said they decided to organise the forum to enable citizens have a voice in the ongoing consultations.

    Also, the Director General PPBA, Mr. Joseph Lengmang, also expressed that the growing tension arising from the discourse on the planned creation of ranches in Plateau is worrisome and highly emotive.

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    Lengmang said “Even more worrying is the highly emotive dimension to which both opponents and supporters of the ranching pilot scheme have approached the matter. Any further escalation of this growing tension might end up jeopardizing the gains of the relative Peace that currently pervades our landscape”.

    Earlier, Governor Lalong who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof Sunni Tyoden had said “the grazing reserve and grazing ranch scheme is not yet a government policy in the state, it is an issue that is been discussed by citizens of the state through the ongoing consultative forum”.

    He said, “at the end of the consultations, government is going to accord respect to the popular opinion of its citizens and do the needful”.

    Our correspondent however gathered that, this is the 5th consultative meeting in the series coordinated by the 14-man policy formulation committee. The committee have met with traditional rulers, the youths, the clerics, State House of Assembly and this very one which is involving the general public.

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