HUES, CRIES OVER PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW INTEGRATED FARM ESTATES PROGRAM IN 108 SENATORIAL DISTRICTS NATIONWIDE
Most recently the President gave a directive to the National Agricultural Land Development Authority for the establishment of integrated farm estates program in all the 108 senatorial districts in Nigeria. This has in no small measures elicited reactions from divergent quarters one of which was a press statement released last Wednesday, September 8, 2021 where this move was grossly condemned by a pan Yoruba cultural organization, the Afenifere. The group described the program of the federal government “as another veiled strategy of acquiring land in furtherance of the settlement of herdsmen across Nigeria”. The group further opined that the urgency and proportionate zeal attached to the creation of the settlement on the ancestral homes of various nationalities in this case 108 senatorial districts leave cause for concern.
Let me equally bring to limelight the opinions of Gurumwal George Longjan on this same issue and I quote:
“From “Cattle Colony” to “Grazing Routes” to “Grazing Reserves” to “RUGA” to “National Livestock Transformation Plan” to “Historic Cattle Routes” to “Farm Estates”.
For 6 years, how can the main policy drive of a Presidential Administration be focused on cows?
For 6 years, there have been different attempts by the Buhari administration to collect lands from indigenous people and hand them over to herdsmen, making the lands officially belong to the Nomads.
Why is the Federal Government hell bent on sponsoring the personal businesses of a particular ethnic group?”
With the above in mind, I would like to categorically emphasis that this new Integrated Farm Estates Program do possess all the major characteristics of previously failed agricultural programs as contained herein above.
Question is, why are there no such deep seated attempts in providing similar huge expanse of land for other private businesses owned and run by Nigerians from other ethnic nationalities like motor spare parts, goat rearing, poultry or pig farming to say the least by the federal government as it is presently constituted.
Prioritizing and giving particular attention to this one line of business (cattle rearing) in a system such as ours negates the Federal Character principles.
This consciously reminds one of the negatively tilted political quotes and scenario in a legendary novel “THE ANIMAL FARM” a book written by George Orwell with particular emphasis on one of the popular adage used therein which has it that all animals are equal but some are more equal than the other.
The point is, our system at the federal level may be playing out the content of this novel without probably having that in mind but it is what it is in the eyes of every right thinking person and this in no small measure could possibly be one of the major reasons behind calls for self determination and balkanization of the system.
We must demonstrate actions that are indicatives of inclusiveness than that which seem to drag us apart.
Pastor Nwokocha Anozie Innocent
Initiative For Ideal Development And Emancipatory Leadership In Nigeria
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