…Says Bill Takes Land From Farmers And Give To Cattle Owners
By Sadiq Umar – Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has called on federal lawmakers,
especially those from the South to reject the Grazing Commission Bill which is before the National Assembly, describing it as anti-people.
Afenifere urged President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace the option of establishing ranches for cattle, saying the proposed bill seeks to favour cattle rearers since it would allow government to appropriate individual farmland and allocate to another sets of people who are in the business of cattle rearing.
The bill is proposed to address the incessant issue of farmers and Fulani herdsmen clashes erupting in different parts of the country.
The bill is titled: A bill for an Act for the establishment of a National Grazing Commission to preserve and control the national grazing reserves and livestock routes and other matters related to it.
But Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti, while addressing journalists Thursday in Akure, said the proposal, which empowered the commission to acquire any land anywhere in the country, not only violates the existing Land Use Act and traditional means of land holding but favours the business of the cattle rearers at the expense of farmers in Nigeria.
He observed that Fulani cows have been accused of destroying farmlands leading to crisis between farmers and cattle owners across the country.
“We reject any law that would rob the citizens of their possessions and award to another set of citizens as this offensive bill attempts to do. That is against the principle of natural justice, ” Mr. Fasoranti declared.
“It is also against federal principle for the government of the federation to therefore want to violate the rights of other sections of the country to please a group from an ethnic unit over and above the interest of other over 400 ethnic groups.”
He called on all federal lawmakers from the south and Nigerians in general to join Afenifere in rejecting the bill.
He also said the group would not keep quiet until true federalism was in entrenched in the country.
He said the 2014 National Conference had recommended the scrapping of grazing route and instead proposed the establishment of ranches as viable alternative.
“We stand with the decision of the of the 2014 National Conference which recommended the scrapping of grazing route for the establishment of ranches,” the octogenarian said.
He said the system of roaming animals all over the country was no more in vogue.
He called on Buhari to embrace the ranching system in order to put an end to the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in many parts of the country.