The Ebonyi state government has denied receiving N6 billion from the federal government for ranching, insisting that the state has no land for such a venture.
Speaking on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, on Wednesday night, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said N24 billion had been given to four states, including Ebonyi, for cattle ranching.
The disclosure drew widespread reactions from citizens and groups in the state with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticising the state government for not disclosing the collection of the fund.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Francis Nwaze, spokesman to David Umahi, governor of the state, said the state government did not receive such funds and will never do so.
“Ebonyi state government never at any time received any money for ranching in the state and will not receive any money for the same purpose as there is no available land for ranching in the state,” he said.
“We have received the news making the rounds that Ebonyi State is among the states in the federation that have received the sum of N6 billion each for ranching as attributed to the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu while responding to questions on Channels Television on Wednesday night.
“We wish to clarify as follows: That should any Ebonyian opt to engage in personal ranching, Ebonyians should see such venture as a personal decision of such person who must use his/her land for the purpose.
“This is because Ebonyi State government has continued to maintain that there is no land for ranching in the state and it is not about to renege on the decision.”
The presidential spokesman subsequently released a statement clarifying the disclosure.
According to him, the Ebonyi state government “is correct in saying that they did not receive N6billion for ranching”.
“In that interview, I said ranching and associated projects,” he said.