The Federal Government has proposed N70 million in this year’s budget for Para-military training of 250 personnel, who would rear and care for livestock and cattle at the various ranches in the country.
The livestock include ostrich, horses and other species of birds that are commonly found in the seven parks of the National Park Service (NPS).
Owners or operators of a ranch are called ranchers, cattlemen or stock growers and their training, according to Conservator General of NPS, Abdullahi Hussein, is expected to cost N280, 000, as against the N1.6 million allegedly requested of them by the Nigerian Army for the training of each of the selected personnel.
He said the service had last year granted similar training to 200 of its personnel for N40 million.
Hussein revealed yesterday, while defending the agency’s N3.230 billion in this year’s appropriation and advocating support for enhancing N1.333 billion vote before the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat, in Abuja, chaired by Obinna Chidoka.
Hussein said going by the Army’s request, it would have cost the government N400, 000,000 to train the 250 of the officers, who he said would be drawn from NPS.
Components of the budgeted sum, he said, include procurement of uniform, footwear, berets and batches for the officers.
“In 2017, we are proposing N70 million for the training of 250 ranchers for all our ranches in the country.
“It is expected that the training of each of them will cost government N280, 000, an amount that will cover the purchases of boots, shoes, uniform, berets and batches for them.
“Since it is paramilitary training that is required, we approached the military to offer the training for the officers, but they asked us to pay them N1.6m for each of them, which we cannot afford,” he said.
He also announced the setting aside of N12. 010 million in this year’s budget for the stocking of the museum in the service, as well as N32. 674 million for the procurement of a 250 KVA generator.
In his remarks, Chidoka expressed satisfaction with the service’s implementation of last year’s budget, despite that only N98. 863 million was released to the agency as at December 31.
He assured that the House would consider the agency’s provisions in this year’s budget and seek ways of ensuring its optimum performance.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, recently revealed that the Army would be raising up cattle ranches in such a manner that in almost all the divisions and brigades, cattle will be reared.
He said in keeping up with modern cattle rearing tradition, he sent some Army officers to Argentina to look at how cattle were reared there.