President Muhammadu Buhari’s consent to examine grazing reserves in several states has been criticized by the Pan Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere, as not only a waste of taxpayers’ money but also a sweet pipe dream in a fool’s paradise.
In a statement issued in Akure, the state capital of Ondo, the party’s General Secretary, Chief Sola Ebiseni, bemoaned that the President was “spending taxpayers’ scarce resources on a scheme whose design lacks all imaginable growth capability.”
“The clearance by President Muhammadu Buhari to review 368 Grazing Reserves spanning allegedly 25 states in the country with dispatch to ascertain the levels of encroachment did not surprise Nigerians,” the statement adds.
“It also doesn’t matter that the President, after sensing the nation’s pulse in an interview with Arise television in June, is still squandering taxpayers’ scarce resources on a program whose idea lacks all possible development potential.
“It is instructive that the recommending and implementation Committee is headed by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the President’s Chief of Staff, who, with Professor Attahiru Jega, presented a “Memorandum On Pastoralist-Farmers’ Conflicts And The Search For Peaceful Resolution” in January 2018, which contained the same recommendations now made by the recommending and implementation Committee.
“It is evident that Nigeria, and indeed Africa, must plan for the change of pastoralism into settled forms of animal husbandry,” they wrote, among other things.
“The creation of grazing reserves allows for a more constrained kind of pastoralism to be practiced, and so is a step toward a more settled style of animal husbandry.
“Grazing reserves are portions of land that have been delineated, set off, and protected for pastoralists’ exclusive or semi-exclusive use. Nigeria currently has 417 grazing reserves across the country, with just roughly 113 of them being gazetted”.
“As a result, the Buhari administration’s current policy on Grazing Reserves is the Fulani intelligentsia enacting the script.
“The ideas, which pretended to be deceptive national answers to the manufactured farmers/herders confrontation, reeks of the odiferous odor of ethnic agenda for Fulani settlement in other ethnic nationalities’ ancient territories.
“Non-Fulani Nigerians are not stupid, as the Federal Government probably believes, because they understand that the concept of Grazing Reserve, according to the Gambari and Jega definitions above, is 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, all of which they have flatly rejected.
“We recall and support the Nigerian Governors’ Resolutions banning all forms of open grazing, particularly in the south of the country, and it makes no difference to us that some elected governors in a federation would condescend to serve as members of a Committee presided over by an appointed aide to the President, regardless of the name under which his office is painted.
“Despite a monolithic one-North administration and a permissive land-use system, the concept of Grazing Reserves, also known as Harumi, which was adopted during colonial times and immediately after independence, failed in the north, notably in the Middle Belt provinces.
“Let the President be reminded, for the umpteenth time, that the constitution, which he reveres unwaveringly, and the Land Use Act, which gets equal force from it, exalt the people’s grandeur over their land.
“Even the Governor, who owns the property in his State in trust for the people, cannot deprive any citizen of it unless there is a compelling public interest that can be demonstrated via due process of law.
“Not only is the current exercise a waste of taxpayer funds, but it is also a delicious pipe dream in a lunatic’s wonderland. Every herder has a home state.
“Let the individual state governments create plans for settled life for them in the territory where the culture is truly appreciated,” the organization added.