20th August, 2021
Hard knocks came the way of President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday over his unrelenting idea to re-chart grazing routes and grazing reserves in 25 states for his Fulani herdsmen.
The condemnation came from both Benue Governor Samuel Ortom and the Yoruba political group, Afenifere.
Ortom who has vehemently kicked against the idea renewed his criticism at Yandev, Gboko Local Government Area during the burial of Emmanuel Amaatimin.
He said Benue people reject the policy in its entirety.
“Let the President know that Benue State has the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in place and we are not going to allow any other thing outside this in Benue.
“In the first place, the Federal Government and the President do not have the right to preside over the land of Benue State.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows Governors to hold in trust the land that belongs to the States.
“If the President wants land in Benue, he will seek my permission and I will in turn seek the consent of Benue people.
“The President cannot say that cattle routes and grazing areas will be designated in Benue State. We say no to it and I say that on behalf of Benue people.”
Ortom wondered why Buhari has not publicly condemned the activities of herdsmen, saying he should be the President for all and not only Fulanis.
Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, also slammed the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for review of 368 Grazing Reserves across 25 States as a plot to annex land for herders.
The group said it did not surprise Nigerians that the President is still wasting tax- payers’ scare resources on a programme, which lacks all conceivable growth capacity.
Secretary General of Afenifere, Sola Ebiseni, in a statement in Akure said the policy reeked of odiferous stench of ethnic agenda for settlement of the Fulani in the ancestral lands of other ethnic nationalities.
The group said non-Fulani Nigerians were not stupid and are aware that the concept of grazing reserve was a worse form of official dispossession of their ancestral lands for the inheritance and use of the Fulani than Cattle Colony, RUGA and Grazing Routes, which they have rejected.
“We recall and support the Resolutions of the Nigerian Governors, particularly from the South of the country, banning all forms of open grazing and it does not matter to us that some elected governors, in a federation, would condescend so low to functioning as members of a Committee presided over by an appointed aide of the President, no matter the name in which his office is painted.
“The concept of Grazing Reserves, otherwise known as Hurumi, which was introduced during the colonial and immediately after independence failed in the north particularly in the Middle Belt provinces, notwithstanding a monolithic one North government and permissive land use regime.
“For the umpteenth time, let the President be told that the constitution which he reveres relentlessly and the Land Use Act which derives equal force there from, extol the majesty of the people over their land.
“Even the Governor who holds the land in his State in trust for the people cannot dispossess any citizen thereof, except for proven overriding public interest through the due process of law.
“The current exercise is not only a waste of tax payers’ money, it is a sweet pipe dream in a fool’s paradise. Every herder has a State of origin.
“Let the governments of the respective states make arrangements for settled life for them in the territory where the culture is fully appreciated.”
Afenifere also said the grazing agenda being pushed by President Buhari is a script of the Fulani intelligentsia.