The Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, has called on the people of the state to disregard the misconceptions and sentiments being linked to the quest for the establishment of National Grazing Reserves in the country.
Governor Lalong, at a media parley on Saturday night as part of activities marking the first year of his administration and the All Progressives Congress-led government in Nigeria, said various policies were being introduced at various levels of government for the greater benefits of Nigerians.

He said such policies include the grazing reserve or ranches, religious regulatory bill by the Governor Nasir El-Rufai government in Kaduna State and his government’s steps to stop illegal mining in Plateau State as well as efforts to reclaim to the state’s fold BARC Farm to boost agriculture.

He appealed to the people to key into the grazing reserves bill and stand to benefit the value added gains, adding it will in no small way turn around their fortunes.

According to Lalong, the policy is designed in such a way that it places where grazing routes or ranches are established, government takes full responsibilities of securing the area for those who would want to keep animals, through which the Central Bank of Nigeria would release funds to train and assist youths, both Fulani and non-Fulani alike, to be able to carter for the animals.

He added that the precess will however take care of cattle rustling, which he described as the major cause of the conflicts among herdsmen and farmers.
Lalong commended the people of Wase, Langtang South for identifying their willingness to donate their piece of land for grazing purpose.

He encouraged people to go into agriculture, especially now that the “almighty crude oil is drying up”, stressing that as a government, apart from intensifying efforts towards ensuring that the civil service sector is given topmost attention in his government, efforts were being made to reclaim Barc farm.

He said the process of paying back to retired Admiral Murtala Nyako the sum of N1.5 billion, with which the farm was acquired, for it to be retired to the State Government.

In addition, he said an MOU has been signed with a Chinese firm for the establishment of a mineral processing company in Plateau State, as well as revive the Plateau Investment and Property Development Company to repositioning some ailing industries.

Lalong said a team for the rebuilding of the Jos Main Market has been put place and has started contacting interested partners.

He however debunked insinuations making the round that he misused the state’s bailout fund.

The full transcript transcript by Gov. Lalong on the occasion of his 1 year anniversary in office is attached below. Points about grazing reserves are outlined in the last paragraph, just before conclusion.




Today marks a memorable and auspicious period of double barrel celebration in the annals of our history. First, is the marking of my administration’s one year in office and second is Democracy Day of our dear country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On these occasions, it is worth thanking Almighty God for His faithfulness, good health, peace and protection. I also congratulate all citizens for the loyalty, patience and continuous support in the journey so far.

Fellow Citizens, you will recall that exactly a year ago, shortly after taking the oath of office I made an inaugural address that delved predominantly on the policy directions of our newly sworn government, the daunting challenges and hope of a better Plateau. This was even with the solemn believe that in spite of the trials and tribulations, we shall overcome. As we take stock of our journey so far, my address is focused on “Our Rescue Mission, Debt of Honour and Hope of a better tomorrow”. By implication, and with great reverence to the trust bestowed on me, it is only proper to remain conscious of the fact that this government came through the Change mantra to rescue our people from years of desolation and hopelessness. This government is conscious of its debt of honour to the teeming populace that massively voted us into power. We have consciousness of living up to the expectations in exhibiting duty of care in service delivery with the promise and hope of a better and prosperous tomorrow.

Without recourse to lamentations and as panacea to govern without prejudice and move the state positively, we embraced core values that are fundamentally located in the heart of the Plateau spirit, namely, sense of communality, diverse ethnicity, mutual respect, tolerance, peace, hospitality, humility, and diligence. We are still on course and what I envision for Plateau State is not just economic prosperity, but a rebirth of our spirit, and a renewal of commitment to our unity and common purpose.

When on 29th May 2015, exactly a year ago, we celebrated a new beginning for greater future and prosperity, I observed and warned that our people, including the youth are bleeding in hardship and there is a pervasive sense of pessimism that the best days of our dear state are behind us and that things can get worse.

What we inherited on assumption of duty vindicated my assertion, most especially as many citizens shared in that sense of despondency, which grew by the day. In fact, given what we inherited, there was general loss of confidence in governance and government institutions. The scenario we encountered on assumption of office were as follows:

Security challenges, which threatened lives and property had remained unchecked;
The tragedies and casualties of crises in the last few years of the last administration that left little room for concrete development, state-wide;
Incomplete handing over of government business to enable us have a true picture of state of affairs in the government.
An inherited work force in the state that was on strike for several months over non-payment of Salaries for about 8 months and outstanding pension arrears of over 12 months;
An educational sector that was no longer acceptable as it was totally grounded from primary to the tertiary level; in spite of declaration of state of emergency;
Very low morale in the Civil Service, where the bureaucratic parameters and career development potentials were desecrated;
An empty state treasury with a huge debt profile of over N222 billion and limited potential for revenue earning;
A dwindling inflow and low revenue from both Federation Account due to fallen oil price and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR);
The double tragedy of low revenue that is also tied to an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO);
A State that was disillusioned, as citizens watched a clique who primitively amassed wealth through the privatization of governance and the common wealth of the citizenry;
Massive awards of contracts for roads and other infrastructure without sufficient funds to complete them;
None passage of the budget by the previous House of Assembly, thus stalling government activities; and
Numerous uncompleted projects that were already deserted by the various contractors due to non-payment of Valuation Certificates, amongst others.
These challenges had contributed in slowing down governance, but we were not daunted. I must commend you all for the perseverance and loyalty in the face of hardship. I also commend all the workforce, particularly the Deputy Governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden, Members of the State Executive and Security Council and top government officials for their diligence, faith in our rescue mission and keeping hope alive that it shall be well.


Fellow Citizens, In spite of all odds, the ideals of PLATEAU STATE of today, one year after taking over the mantle of leadership is still anchored on the change mantra, to rescue Plateau anchored on the principle of justice, equity and unity.

The Plateau State Today envisages that the State is a Wealth of Resources, a Wealth of Opportunities for its present and future development.

This vision of Plateau State TODAY, for a better tomorrow still remains within the perspectives of our five policy thrusts of Peace, Security and Good Governance; Human Capital Development and Social Welfare; Agriculture and Rural Development; Entrepreneurship and Industrialization; and Physical Infrastructure and Environment. From our insight of the past one year, lessons learnt about the economy have compelled us to think out of the box in relation to the New Normal and exploited areas of Discriminating Competences, which are simply related to our priority areas of development. For the avoidance of doubt, while not abandoning our five policy thrusts, we are also focused on the new normal in the following strategic priority areas:

Mineral Resources Development; and
The unique place of AGRICULTURE on the Plateau is the semi-temperate weather, favourable for production of tropical and other exotic temperate crops. The geo-strategic positioning of the State for vegetable production and value chain development cannot be over-emphasized, given our comparative advantage in the production of these fruits, vegetables and crops. The agricultural activities are great stimulants for the development of agro-allied industries. Besides, the Jos Airport has been designated as the only International Cargo Airport for hauling Agricultural produce to other countries of the world.

The State is endowed with large deposits of wide varieties of SOLID MINERAL RESOURCES that have mainly been subjected to artisanal mining. Government is not benefiting up to 25% revenue from solid minerals. As key driver of economic growth, Mining offers viable prospects for mineral exploration, processing and the manufacture of a host of intermediate raw materials for local industries and foreign exchange earnings. It presents the opportunity for diversifying our local economy with the view to reduce dependency on oil revenue, curb the growing level of unemployment and poverty and move rural miners into middle class.

TOURISM industry has a pride of place in the State, given the facts of natural scenic beauty that are inexhaustible and not fully explored. Plateau occupies a historical position of being one of the first locations and sceneries of film and theatre production in the country, and stimulating growth of our economy.

Without prejudice, these are indeed our areas of discriminating competences that `are unrivaled and have greater advantages and multiplier effects on other key sectors of development. The great diversities of our natural and human endowments are underlying facts that justify realistic strategic plans for efficient and effective transformation in these areas of comparative advantages.

It is expected that as a panacea for our Plateau of TODAY and TOMORROW, non-oil revenue accruing to the State would be ploughed into sustainable development of the other sectors, such as Human Capital Development and Social Welfare; Entrepreneurship and industrialization within the context of our 3 E-Dimensional Strategies of Employment, Empowerment and Engagement, which are geared towards skills acquisition and wealth creation.

No doubt, it has not been business as usual since assumption of office, which is even worsened by the continuous slide in economic misfortune occasioned by the recession. To further accomplish our set objectives of the change mantra and rescue mission related to promises made to the people, we have begun embracing and keying into some ideals of Private-Sector-Driven-Culture in governance as demonstrated with my recent official business trip to the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America.


The peculiarities of legacies inherited from our predecessors varied from State to State. Some States met a solid foundation to consolidate upon and forge ahead, while some found it regrettable that they needed to dust-off and start on a renewed platform with appropriate rebalancing. As a score card of practical governance within the past one year, we were able to record the following achievements:

Having inherited crisis of confidence on peace and security in the State, and recognizing that peace and security are panaceae for good governance, concerted efforts were made in ensuring early return and sustainability of these ingredients. In this respect, the following were achieved:

Town hall meetings were held with all the stakeholders in the State as potent tool in the sustenance of our issues based policies and sensitization.
After several Security Consultative meetings between warring Berom and Fulani communities, the Peace and Reconciliation Committee was constituted, worked diligently and submitted its report;
The substantial implementation of the report has led to the sustainable peace and mutual coexistence that Plateau State is enjoying today;
The positive impact of this intervention earned commendation to the State by the Humanitarian Dialogue, an International Organization that has been working through the length and breadth of the State to ensure peace is sustained.
To consolidate on the above, for lasting peace on the Plateau and its environment, a Bureau for Peace Building and Conflict Resolution has been established and has since commenced operations.
Having restored peace and security, which are necessary ingredients for good governance, it became imperative that we build confidence in governance by doing the right thing and at the auspicious time. Accordingly, the following were achieved:

Constituted a Transition Committee following poor handing over process and documentation. This helped us in taking proper stock, redefined governance and cleaning the Augean Stable;
Resolution of industrial disputes with Labour Unions that had lingered for several months;
Commenced payment of backlog of inherited salaries arrears, ahead of the Federal Government’s Bail-out. It is hoped that as soon as the remaining balance of the bailout fund is released, the outstanding would be paid;
Harmonized pensions of retired civil servants and paid seven months out of the thirteen months inherited;
Settled outstanding Counterpart Funds of over N200 million for HIV and AIDS, Fadama II, Community and Social Development Agency micro projects, based on “felt needs”, amongst several other interventions;
In the Civil Service, we reviewed, approved and released backlog of thousands of staff promotions in the Civil Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission, Local Government Service Commission, and exercise still on-going.
Further to the reforms, we carried out restructuring in the Civil Service in terms of proper placement of those that were deprived of their rightful places. This exercise saw to the emergence of a new Head of Service and appointment of new permanent Secretaries, strictly based on merit;
Set the machinery in frontally confronting the issue of ghost workers; increase in number of retired staff, but ironical rise in wage bill. This had necessitated the Direct Data Capture exercise, Bank Verification Number (BVN) and physical verification of Staff. We hope to nip in the bud the corrupt practices that have sustained the high salaries and frustrated savings for payments of pensions and gratuities;
Recovered looted funds amounting to two billion, seven hundred million Naira (N2,7000,000,000) from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB);
Government has tracked and filed petitions before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) who have commenced investigations on allegedly looted;
In the Judiciary, two High Court buildings were completely renovated and furnished to provide befitting structures to enhance smooth working condition. This feat earned commendation by the Judiciary on the Plateau and the Nigerian Bar Association;
The above achievement fulfilled the National Judicial Commission (NJC) requirements that also led to the appointment of three new High Court Judges for the State; thus easing the stock pile of litigations awaiting action and quick dispensation of justice;
Revisited the issues of Creation of Chiefdoms, Districts, and Development Areas by setting up a high powered Committee to review the unpopular suspension of Chiefdoms, Districts, Development Areas and other related matters by the past regime;
Adherence To Due Process in the award of all government contracts and procurement of goods and services; thereby ensuring value for money, accountability and transparency in government transactions;
For good and effective governance, Executive Bills were initiated that led to the following milestones:
Enacted a Law that established the Bureau for Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. This is aimed at promotion of peaceful coexistence among our citizens; improve security through strengthening of mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Intelligence Gathering and Early Warning Systems in each community and Local Government Area;
Enacted a Law that established the Plateau State Bureau of Public Procurement; and
Enacted a Law that established the Plateau State Microfinance Development Agency. Through this agency too, concerted efforts would continue to be made in widening the scope of workable mechanisms to drive our discriminating competencies for the state. This will also help in generating more revenue to meet its competing demands for effective and efficient project financing services delivery, amongst several on-going reforms.
In the sphere of Education, and to address some anomalies in the tertiary institutions, the following were achieved:

Governance restructure and immediate reinstatement of the unjustly suspended Vice Chancellor of Plateau State University, (PLASU), Bokkos;
The immediate reconstitution of the Governing Council of PLASU and the implementation of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Special Visitation report;
Advocacy visits to the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for interventions in the State Tertiary Institutions. These have yielded positive dividends;
Constituted a Transition Committee that reviewed appointments, placements, and other related staff matters in all State owned Tertiary Institutions;
Facilitated and ensured release of over N500 million as funds for infrastructure development and successful accreditation of academic programmes at PLASU. This will now enable the backlog of two sets of students to graduate and commence their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. This is coming ten years after the institution was established;
Approved and released funds for the equipping and installation of E-Library at the Completed and Commissioned Ultra-modern E-Library at the College of Health Technology, Zawan;
Infrastructure development of construction, Restructuring/Renovation received a boost with the sum of about N120 million at the State Polytechnic Barkin Ladi;
Payment of backlog of over five years scholarship allowances to students of tertiary institutions and the Law Schools;
Sponsored and paid scholarship of twenty eight (28) indigenous students to Maritime Academy in Alexandria, Egypt;
In giving effect to her vision for qualitative primary education, about 4,800 primary school teachers with a minimum of NCE qualification were being recruited through a community based approach. This would provide employment and address the teachers deficit in this critical formative stage of education;
The School Renewal Program (SRP) has begun receiving a boost with Government renovating primary schools across the 3 geopolitical zones and the distribution of basic instructional materials and text books;
Set the machinery in motion for collaboration and supporting Non-Governmental Organizations on education matters; related to time-tested Special School Model for the disadvantaged children in the three Senatorial Zones of the State;
Institutional Support as host to the University of Jos through purchase and donation of Security Vehicles and Tractors for the new Faculty of Agriculture during its 27th and 28th Joint Convocation and 40th Anniversary;
Hosted and conducted the tour for Senior Course 38 Batch of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, on a study tour of Plateau State with the theme “Repositioning the Non-oil sector for Revenue Generation;
As Social Welfare, Youth and Sports Development initiative, the following were achieved:
Mobilized the contractors back to site at Zaria Road ultra-modern stadium with completion target of 2016;
Sponsored the State contingents to the African Sports Festival in Congo and other National sporting competitions with the support of government and won 101 medals and laurels;
Provided the enabling environment for the organization of one of the foremost cultural festivals in the state, namely, The Nzem Berom after a dormant period of eight years; and
The tremendous financial and moral support to the State’s Plateau United Football Club earned it promotion to the Premiership of the Nigerian Football League.
Agriculture has assumed prominence and the following strides were made:

Realigning the Ministry of Agriculture, Plateau Agriculture Development programme PADP the Agriculture Service Training Centers (ASTC) and Marketing Ltd, as flagships of the economy of the state;
Launched fertilizer distribution in Bassa Local Government barely one month after assumption of office and at a subsidized rate to farmers in the state. This was achieved before commencement of the full farming season;
Launched and distributed improved tomato seedlings at PADP;
Flagged off the wheat and Rice value chain and distributed farm implements and improved seedlings; and
Facilitated access to the Micro Finance for all year commercial production of Rice and Wheat for Farmers through their Association.
In our effort to diversify the economy through massive investments, the following were accomplished:

Evolved strategic initiatives in sustainable programmes implementation and partnership in priority areas of development;
Revived and repositioned the comatose Plateau Investments and Properties Company (PIPC) to resume its mandate of managing government’s business interests and investment drive;
Signed a Joint Venture Partnership (JVP) between Hummer Drinks Ltd and PIPC (67% : 33%) for the revival of the Highland Bottling Company;
Complete renovation and upgrade of PIPC choice properties in Gwarimpa and other locations that were dilapidated and abandoned;
Tracking and recovery of some Government Stock and Shares owned by the State Government that were negligently managed during the last dispensation;
The official visit to China with a state contingent under the China-North Central Nigeria Business and Investment Forum as a follow up to the President’s visit has seen the execution of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese business venture, Hunan Xianghui Development Group for investment in the mineral resources exploitation and processing, tourism and energy sectors. This was barely two weeks after the Chinese Business Forum’s visit in April 2016. This is a major in-road in Government’s effort to open up the State for Investors, industrialization and job creation;
Signed an MOU with Bijabta Group (Nigeria) Limited for the completion and reactivation of the Fertilizer Blending Plant at Bokkos. It is hoped that commercial production will commence in about three months’ time.
In line with the APC principle of embracing the ideals of continuity in governance and completing all relevant abandoned ongoing projects, we resumed and completed the construction of many abandoned metropolitan roads to meet the challenges to motorists and pedestrians while others are on- going, as follows:

Completed the secretariat junction fly over bridge currently in use;
Completed the House of Assembly complex Legislative Chamber;
Completed the Plateau state Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, which was long abandoned;
Completed the Plateau State Geographic Information System (PLAGIS). It is billed to be commissioned as we mark one year in office, along with flag off of issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). It is envisaged to be a great source of Internally generated revenue for the benefit of the state;
The popular Jos and Bukuru metropolitan Operation Zero Pothole puts back many roads to their usable form or shape through filing and rehabilitation of major road networks;
Rehabilitated the Federal Low cost road network by laying asphalt on the road network.
The construction and completion of Hillcrest – Plateau Hospital Road; Plateau Hospital – Dental Clinic Roads; Zololo – Nasarawa Road; Dutse Uku roads; Tudun Wada – Angwan Yashi Roads; amongst others.
Completion of the Maza road and bridge within the Maza community in order to provide motorable access to rural communities around the mountainous fringes of the metropolis;
Reviewed the scope of work for the construction of the link bridge within the Maza community. The Zandi – Maijuju Road was mobilized for completion, with direct impact given the enormous quantity of Agricultural products from Jos East that passed through this axis; and
Large quantities of water treatment chemicals were procured for the Plateau State Water Board.
Overhauled and repaired the hitherto non-functional high lift water pump at Yakubu Gowon Treatment Plant leading to restoration of pumping on the Phase 2;
Restored water supply and distribution to some communities in Rukuba road, Kabong, Utan, Alheri areas, etc that hitherto could not get water supply for periods between 5 and 24 years.
With joint cooperation of Local Government Council Transition committee of Pankshin and Shendam, the water treatment plants have been energized and municipal water supplies restored.

In fulfillment of Section 121 Sub-section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, I presented the 2016 budget, tagged, “Budget of Rescue and Hope” which has been passed and signed into Law. Given the zero-based nature of the budget, we hope to run a balanced budget with minimum deficit. We have therefore streamlined and prioritized vital projects into short, medium and long term interventions as identified during the Town Hall and Stakeholders meetings.

I assure you of government’s determination in its implementation. Furthermore, fiscal discipline would be imbibed in our expenditure pattern and strict observance in due processes and the Procurement Act that will produce impact-driven growth in the polity, governance and general well-being of our people. We hope to deliver our promises to the electorate in a manner consistent with ideals of practical governance and accountability.


We strongly believe in driving through our manifesto for prosperous Plateau of today and tomorrow. In exploring areas of mutually beneficial relationship, we have begun encouraging medium and long-terms developments by involving Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanisms with all the attendant benefits.

We have also deployed our deep understanding of the dynamics of our contemporary economic and fiscal situations; bilateral and institutional linkages and strategic plan for a sustainable State as demonstrated with some Joint Venture Partnerships and MOUs recently signed.

We shall also continue to clarify issues of public interest and where necessary take some far reaching decisions in an effort to protect institutional integrity against rumour mongering and misinformation.

In this light, I want to use this opportunity to address the unfortunate rumours that have since gone viral without any factual basis. These are the rumours on an existing new curriculum for Secondary Schools that purportedly replaces Christian and Islamic Religious Studies with Civics Education. The second is on a plan by the Federal Government to create Grazing Reserves and or Ranches for Fulani herdsmen, through forceful seizure of ancestral land, in all States of the federation.

On the first issue, while the government has never been privy to such idea, the National Educational Research Development Centre (NERDC) has even come out to categorically disclaim the existence of any such curriculum. Furthermore, if such a curriculum exists, it can only be binding on a State if the State so wishes, because secondary education is on the concurrent list in our constitution, with Federal State and Local Governments as stakeholders.

With respect to the grazing reserves and ranches, much sentiments and incitements have gone round about mortgaging our inheritance to aliens. To clear the air, especially as it relates to good intentions of the government, grazing reserves are simply tracts of land acquired, developed and set aside for farmers or pastoralists to use in grazing their Livestock or domesticated animals, with several other agricultural economic benefits to the state and individuals. A Ranch on the other hand is plot or piece of land for raising any livestock, which can exist within a grazing reserve or a backyard.

Furthermore, it is important to note three fundamental issues: First, acquisition of a reserve is at the pleasure of the State because the Land Use Act, which gives government control over all land still subsists. Second, customary rights over land are still recognized and therefore nobody is going to seize anybody’s land to set up a grazing reserve. Third, the establishment of any reserve is for the use of everybody, who wishes to, but not for a particular set of people as being erroneously insinuated. There is no compulsion in the establishment or usage of any grazing reserve. It is wholly and completely volitional and at the pleasure of the State and the land-owners.

In this 21st century, nomadism is rarely practiced in many parts of the world, especially as acquisition and development of grazing reserves is well known panacea or remedy to resolving the intractable violent conflicts between farmers and herders as well as cattle rustling, etc. I assure you that both Federal and State governments have the best of intention in exhibiting duty of care in this policy initiative.

As we struggle to lay the foundations for a better Plateau, we should brace ourselves to face the current challenges with confidence, courage and perseverance. The economic and financial challenges facing us as a country and State are glaring enough for all to see. While efforts are being made to put in place measures that will help us weather the storm, the times call for endurance and sacrifice from all.

It is in this light that my government has taken the hard and painful decision to suspend for now, all government patronages that revolve round Fasting, Sallah, Christmas and the sponsorship of Holy Pilgrimages. We shall review these measures as our financial situation improves.


Given the above eagle eye view of the array of our past experiences, our natural endowment and potentials, I wish to reiterate that our dream of a Plateau State of today and hope of a better tomorrow is purely borne out of the interest and desire to further explore the vast human and material resources and economic viability and utilize them for sustainable growth and development. In subsequent days ahead, government will pursue and leverage on our areas of discriminating competences vigorously in order to boost the economy of the state.

Our hospitable and accommodating nature has made the state the center of attractions for all groups, either for permanent residency or vacation. On a broader perspective and as a debt of honour to our state, and for our better today and tomorrow, we shall strive to ensure even development. We are desirous of ensuring peace and averting systemic failure in governance. As a clarion call therefore, we should continue to embrace democratic ideals of constructive criticisms, keep pulling together, not hanging separately; loving one another and not exhibiting hatred, violence and other needless vitriolic sentiments.

In conclusion, gradually but surely, with greater faith as we enter the second year of our administration, through the much needed synergy and ground breaking solutions to solving our developmental challenges, we shall strive to touch virtually every sectors and communities. It is in this respect that we plead for continuous loyalty, patience, understanding and hard work, which are panacea for sustainable peace, growth and development.

I wish you all a happy democracy day and continuous peace and harmony on the Plateau.

Thank you.

Rt. Hon. Barr. Simon B. Lalong,

Executive Governor, Plateau State.

Sunday, 29th May 2016.

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Gov. Lalong appeals to Plateau people to accept grazing reserve policy

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