Kudos To Legislators From The South For Speaking Up Against Grazing Reserves Creation

Many are against grazing reserves being given to herdsmen from people's ethnic lands.
Photos of people killed in the recent attack of Uzo Uwano, Enugu by herdsmen. The people of Uzo Uwani told the herdsmen to leave their land, accusing them of rapes and destruction of their crops, and got this in return.

I must commend legislators from the Southern part of the country for finally making their voices heard publicly over the proposed cattle grazing bill that would effectively have seen the ethnic lands of other ethnic groups in Nigeria seized and given to another ethnic group! (Just imagine!)

I also wish to thank the Middle Belt stakeholders that spoke up courageously against the evil proposal that would have brought untold death upon future generations not yet born, had it not been for the courage and intelligence of the people that saw the silly, wicked bill and exposed its evil contents to well meaning Nigerians.

I must also thank Punch newspaper for this comprehensive report on the opinions of the lawmakers contained in this source article I have linked to.

Dear reader, let me share with you some of the impressions I got from the Punch article.

Grazing bill is opposed by the lawmakers because judging from the incessant killings of innocent farmers over grazing disputes, taking ancestral lands from these farmers to give to the herdsmen would only exacerbate the issue and lead to more serious bloodshed in the future.

(Nigerians owe it to future generations to prevent this kind of carnage by not allowing themselves to be hoodwinked by any sweet talk today over grazing bill. The forefathers that fought got these lands gave them to their present descendants fully. This started thousands of years ago, before the amalgamation of Nigeria.

Should their descendants now make their forefathers turn in their graves by allowing what has been given to them to hold in trust for future generations to be taken away from them unlawfully, even by an illegal law?

Read Also: Cattle Ranching Example In Anambra, No Need For Grazing Reserves

According to  Olatubosun Oyintiloye, the Federal Government should review the N940m budget for the grazing reserves to avoid creating a bigger problem while ‘attempting to solve a smaller one’.

The intelligent lawmaker who served as spokesman for his obviously intelligent colleagues stated that while the Federal Government might have good intentions in its willingness to take people’s ethnic lands for the creation of exclusive grazing reserves that would benefit only one ethnic group that dominates the trade, the southerners who are major victims of the herdsmen attacks believe that the creation of these reserves will compound the problem.

He pointed out that though most of the milk Nigerians drink come from Holland, in Holland, you won’t see any cows grazing in the open. (They are well catered for in private ranches, not in public grazing reserves made up of other people’s ethnic lands forcefully seized and given to another ethnic group.) God Forbid Bad Thing!

He reminded the Federal Government that by the Land Use Act of 1978, only the governors have power to give land for such purpose, adding that no governor from the south will want to play with the security of his people (and I believe his own image in the eyes of the people) by given out land for such purpose, given the killings that have already occurred over cattle grazing.

Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo stated that the Federal Government could not come and force people to surrender their land for the so-called ‘grazing reserves’.

He also added that since governors are the custodians of the land upon which grazing can be carried out in the states, it’s impossible for the Federal Government to establish what it terms as ‘grazing reserves’ in Cross River.

This is because, even though the Federal Government can put pressure on the governors, the people will not allow any Southern governor to give away their patrimony.

Chairman of the Oyo State House of Assembly Committee on Information, Mr. Olamide George wondered why the Federal Government would be so keen on creating grazing reserves when it could lead to violence. He said, “The people of the South-West are already seeing the herdsmen as being violent and creating grazing reserves for them in the zone will cause more violence.”

Chairman, the House Committee on Information, Mr. Gboyega Aribisogan, who spoke on behalf of 25 other members of the House described grazing reserves as a booby trap and announced the resolve of the state’s House of Assembly never to accept such an evil law.

In the same vein The President of the Berom Youths Movement, Mr. Choji Chuwang, and the Chairman, Federation of Middle Belt People, Mr. Manasseh Watyil, while speaking to Punch, condemned the N940m allocated to grazing reserves in the 2016 budget.

The cultural leaders described the action as looking for more trouble than the government could handle. Mr Wtyil describe the moves to create grazing reserves as targeted at disrupting the peace of the Middle Belt ragion, vowing that the Middle Belt would not release its ethnic lands for the ‘reserves’.

He asked rhetorically, ‘Whose farmland will be given for that? And who is ready to forgo his farmland?’

Mr Chuwang said that just as the predominantly herdsmen inherited their cows, the people of the Middle Belt inherited their lands, and would not sit idly by and watch their lands taken over by other ethnic groups.

He said, ”He said, ‘They (the Fulani) inherited cows from their fathers and we inherited land. So, we are not going to sit by and watch anybody take over our land.

‘Cattle rearing is a private business. So, why should the government be involved in somebody’s private business? Why should the government take our land and give to somebody else to do his private business? The government is stoking more trouble and we will resist that with the last drop of our blood.’”

Baring his mind on the issue the Senator representing Oyo South, Adesoji Akanbi said, “We don’t have any problem with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture buying lands to carry out any project, but we are opposed to forceful takeover of state lands to create routes exclusively for herdsmen.”

It is clear that should the Federal Government continue with its desire to create ‘grazing reserves’, they would have turned the South and Middle Belt area of the North against the Fulani ethnic group.

The more they harp on the issue, the more they widen the fissures militating against the unity of the country. What government would want to be accused of taking land from some ethnic groups and giving them to another?

We have said it time and time again: The Federal Government should give the herdsmen loans to go and buy land like other businessmen. This is a peaceful solution to the issue. But it cannot come and seize lands belonging to other ethnic groups and give it to the herdsmen.

Furthermore, the herdsmen deserve the best they can get, which is modern private farms from where they can even export cattle and milk and make Nigerians proud. They don’t deserve to be insulted by being kept in reserves for goodness sakes.





By OzoIgboNdu1 of Igbo Defender

Digital marketer and Marketing analyst

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