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Anti-open Grazing Law: NASS, States Dare Buhari

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Fred Itua; Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye Abuja; Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo; Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

The rift between the Executive and the Legislature worsened yesterday. Barely 24 hours after lawmakers gave the marching order to President Muhammadu Buhari to act on the resolutions reached a joint session, which included a call to contain the killings across Nigeria and protect citizens’ lives and property or risk impeachment, they again took on the executive over suggestion that the anti-open grazing laws in Benue, Taraba and Ekiti states be suspended.

This came even as the three states dared the Federal Government as they vowed not to go back on its implementation.

Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali had in a statement signed by Colonel Tukur Gusau at the end of a security meeting, chaired by President Buhari on Tuesday, suggested the “need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders.

“There is need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the anti-open grazing law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders,” Tukur Gusau, Dan Ali’s spokesman, quoted him as saying.

It was part of the resolutions reached the security council meeting attended by all the security chiefs.
The anti-grazing law is already operational in Benue, Ekiti and Taraba states.

The three states have vowed not to go back on its implementation.

The Senate backed the anti-grazing Act, as it said like the National Assembly, state Assemblies have the right to make laws for state governments under the Land Use Act of 1977.
One of the resolutions adopted by the Senate read: “The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, should as a matter of urgency, withdraw his statement that states should suspend anti-open grazing laws.”
The decision of the Senate followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade, who argued that the passage of the laws in some states has not contravened the constitution of the country.

His position was supported by John Enoh who argued that the killings had been going on for years before some states passed the bills into law.

“If killings have been going on for over seven years, I don’t think going against anti-grazing laws will be the solution. It is unfortunate that after a security meeting, the only solution they could come up with was a ban on anti-open grazing.

“Sometimes, we begin to wonder if these herdsmen are being protected. The Senate needs to rise up and make a statement that the anti-grazing law is against not responsible for the killings. It also means that these people in authority still don’t have any solutions to these mindless killings.”

Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba State) said Zamfara State where the Minister of Defence hails from did not have any existing anti-open grazing law but has the highest number of killings carried out by herdsmen.
Like the Senate, the House of Representatives also kicked against the suggestion that the anti-open grazing law should be suspended.

At plenary yesterday, the House wondered why states should be asked to suspend a law duly enacted.
Following a matter or urgent public importance raised by John Dyegh (Benue), the lawmakers resolved that the call to suspend the law was unnecessary.

Contributing to the debate, Nkiruka Onyejiocha (Abia) said the minister’s recommendation was uncalled. She also argued against the idea of colonies.

She said: “We can’t be talking of colonies. What people are doing is ranching. It’s not proper to say a state should suspend a law passed for the welfare of its people.”

Adopting the prayers of the motion, the lawmakers asked the Federal Government to “immediately submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to develop colonies in states that have agreed to donate lands (for them).”

Ekiti, Taraba, Benue, Miyetti Allah, others react

Meanwhile, governments of Ekiti, Taraba and Benue states have vowed to implement and defend the anti-open grazing law.

In separate reactions, the states reminded the Federal Government of the right granted them under the Constitution to make law for the well-being of their individual states.
According to Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, the Federal Government lacked the power to suspend or abrogate the law enacted by the state government to prohibit open grazing of cattle in the state.

Fayose who spoke in Ado-Ekiti through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, hinged his submission on the fact that the constitution empowers the governor as the chief security officer to make laws for the good of the state through the House of Assembly.

“On this subject, the Federal Government has no control and cannot interfere. This is a matter of law. I want the Federal Government to know that we are operating a democratic system and that we are not in the military era when the government is run by decrees and fiats.

“Those in the Federal Government contemplating to suspend a law enacted by the state can only be appointed by a quasi-military government and not a purely civilian government.

“Let them know that the Ekiti State Anti-grazing Law has come to stay and we have no apology for that. Where were they when our farmers were being hacked down in various parts of the state?
“Thousands of farmers and other innocent people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen since January in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Plateau states among others. Thousands of people have been displaced. Millions of naira worth of properties destroyed. The killings have become a daily occurrence.
“The Muhammadu Buhari administration does not have any solution to it. The Federal Government should find solutions to the problems and not try to reverse the gains we have recorded in Ekiti State and which is being replicated by other states where the leaders have the interest of their people at heart,” he said.

Reacting, Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku reiterated that the open grazing prohibition law that came into effect in the state on January 24 has come to stay and no pronouncements can upturn it.
In an exclusive interview, the Senior Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, Mr Bala Dan Abu accused the minister of acting without the proper understanding of the issues.

“I must say that the minister is ill-informed. He does not seem to understand the issues at hand properly and that explains their inability to resolve them. Herdsmen attacks predate this law. These herdsmen have been killing people for the past seven years or thereabouts. This is what necessitated this administration’s decision to come up with this law.

“The law as it is now is meant to stop the killings. If herdsmen no longer wander into people’s farms to graze on their crops, the crisis would be reduced greatly. The instances of cattle rustling would also reduce as it would become easier to secure the cows.

“So, if the government is blaming the wanton killings on the law, what about the states that do not have the law and yet there is just as many attacks and killings? Is it the law that is causing the killings in Zamfara, Plateau, Kogi and all the other states across the country where open grazing is not prohibited?

“I would not want to say that the Federal Government has ulterior motives but I think they lack a proper understanding of the issues here, and that explains their inability to tackle these issues.

“In any case, this law was duly passed by the state Assemblies of the respective states and so it’s only through the instrumentality of the Houses of Assembly that the law can be repealed. And Taraba State is not ready to do that as the reasons for law still remain valid,” Gov Ishaku concluded.
In a swift reaction, however, the state chairman of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Sahabi Tukur described the decision by the Federal Government as long overdue.

Tukur, who alleged that the law was actually providing a shield for people to commit crimes and blame it on the Fulani called on the Federal Government to empower the traditional rulers and institutions to checkmate inflow and outflow of people within their chiefdoms and in doing so, control the security situations there.

In his reaction, former Nigerian Envoy to the Republic of Cameroon Ambassador Emmanuel Njiwa said the call by the Federal Government was not only unnecessary but malicious, noting that the states have taken positive steps towards developing livestock production and checking killings, which no one should try to stop.

In the same vein, the Benue State government said it would not go back on the implementation of the law and called on the Defence Minister to withdraw the “highly offensive statement.”
The House of Assembly, in a resolution read by the Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, condemned Dan-Alli’s statement and called on him to resign his appointment with immediate effect.
In a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi, the House described the minister’s statement as unfortunate and unacceptable.

“The call by Dan-Alli is very wicked and capable of undermining the little peace that we have enjoyed in recent times in the state. I am aware that the National Assembly has called on him to withdraw that offensive statement. The House aligns itself with the decision of the National Assembly.”

In a related development, Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja (Jr.) urged Nigerians and the international community to compel the Defence Minister to prove to Benue people that he had no scores to settle in the crisis or playing a script of some unknown people.
“Why has the Minister of Defence not made a single reference to the plight of the 180,000 Benue indigenes taking refuge in eight IDP camps in Benue? These people are Nigerians who deserve to have a sense of belonging in Nigeria.

“Most of these people are farmers who could not go back to their farms for fear of being attacked by herdsmen who are still carrying out sporadic attacks on Benue communities, as we speak.
“Is the minister speaking for himself or on behalf of the Federal Government; because his latest outbursts are completely at variance with the position taken by the National Economic Council on ranching headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.”

The Senate has set up an Ad hoc committee, to investigate the authenticity of a report by Amnesty International, wherein soldiers were accused of sexually violating women in North East.

Presidency declines comment
However, the Presidency said it has no comment on the threat by the National Assembly to evoke its constitutional powers against President Buhari.

When asked what was the Presidency’s comment was on the threat, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, declined.

“No, we will not comment,” Shehu retorted while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided by the president. (The Sun)

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Emir Sanusi, Miyetti Allah Praise Fayose Over Anti-grazing Law |The Republican News

By Correspondent

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Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi II

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi II and the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, have commended the Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose for enacting anti-open grazing law in the state. They said the law would cater for the well-being of parties involved, especially the herders, farmers and host communities among others.

They spoke in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Emir, who is a patron of the MACBAN, was represented by a former Kano State governor and Sarduana of Kano Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. Sanusi, who spoke through Shekarau frowned at a situation whereby some criminal elements would hide under grazing of the herd to perpetrate crimes.

He said: “My mission is not politics and it is about peace and peaceful coexistence of our nation. I am standing in here for the Emir and I am the Sarduana of Kano. The Emir mandated me to come over here with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and find out how we can work amicably.” But Fayose said “I also appreciate and commend our leader, Emir of Kano, and the Sultan of Sokoto.

They are lifesavers. I want all of you, irrespective of the tribe to trust us as leaders. “Part of the problem of Nigeria is lack of trust as a result of misinformation and distrust and sometimes politics we have been divided against one another. Let me tell you today when governors of any party see each other, we hug and drink together. Whenever Buhari and I see, we will remain friends, don’t die for politicians.

“If you have correct money, you will not be cattle herder. You would prefer living abroad. It is out of fate and condition of your families that make you this. To be a farmer is not easy, it involves a lot of hard labour. You have to be wise people and remember that you can do better than carrying arms. Any person or politician who has fear of God cannot carry arms to kill anyone.   (New Telegraph)

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Defence Minister Blames Herdsmen Killings On Anti-Grazing Law, Route Blockage

Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of defence
                       Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Thursday described the blockage of grazing routes across the country as the remote cause of recent killings especially in Benue and Taraba states.

He also identified the implementation of anti-grazing law in some states as the immediate cause of the killings.

Dan-Ali spoke with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhamamdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the recent killings formed part of discussions at the meeting and the proposed National Commission on Proliferation of Arms was one of the steps being taken by the Federal Government to tackle the violence.

The minister said, “Whatever crisis that happens at any time, there are remote and immediate causes.  Look at this issue (killings in Benue and Taraba), what is the remote cause of this farmers’ crisis? Since the nation’s independence, we know there used to be a route whereby the cattle rearers take because they are all over the nation.

“If you go to Bayelsa or Ogun, you will see them. If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen?  These people are Nigerians. It is just like one going to block the shoreline, does that make sense to you? These are the remote causes of the crisis. But the immediate cause is the grazing law.

“These people are Nigerians and we must learn to live together with one another. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave. Finish!”

Asked if he was justifying the killings because of the blockage of the routes, the minister said, “I have told you that the remote cause is part of the grazing law. Since independence, there are clear routes where these people pass.

“On the issue of arms, they are all over. In those killings you are talking about, there are also militias that did the killings. Some people were caught with arms and they call themselves Forest Guards or whatever with AK47.

“There is nowhere in this country where arms are allowed to be carried apart from legitimate security forces.

“So, anybody carrying any arm is doing so illegally. Militias were caught in the same land doing the same killings, so the killings are not done by any particular group, it is a communal issue.”

Asked which one should Nigerians believe between his position and the government’s earlier position that the killings were done by foreign terrorists, Dan-Ali said, “Of course, that is why I said they are militias. Militias are part of illegal immigrants. They are the people.”

The minister said the meeting also featured discussion on the stringent conditions imposed by the United States government for the sale of 12 Super Tucano A29 planes and other weapons worth $495m to Nigeria.

He said while the US government insisted that the payment must be made by February 20, it also maintained that the aircraft could only be available in 2020.

Apart from that, he said the US government had also stopped Nigerian personnel from being sent to understudy the production process of the aircraft as Nigeria did in the case of other countries.

The minister said the council had approved that the Ministry of Defence met with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, to iron out the contentious issues.

He said, “The contract include cost which is $494m to acquire the Super Tucano A29 plans as well as training, where the facilities will be accommodated and continuous servicing among others.

“Some of the stringent measures include that we will start having them from 2020, which is two years from now. They are also thinking of not allowing our technicians to be part of the production inspection.

“But this is what we normally do in all the defence contracts: we send our personnel to go and understudy especially when it comes to specialised aircraft like in Russia, our personnel are permanently based where the production is being done for this MI35 helicopters.”  (Punch)

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Anti-Grazing Law Is A Time Bomb – Miyetti Allah |The Republican News

Bello-Bodejo

 

From: Noah Ebije, Kaduna

The Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, North west zone, on Monday, rose from a meeting in Kaduna State to declare that anti-grazing law was a time bomb.

According to the association, the law was an attempt to destroy herders’ means of livelihood.

National President of the association, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, and the National Secretary, Sale Alhassan, who jointly addressed newsmen, said the anti-grazing law was not in the best interest of peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

They said the need to urgently address the issue could not be over-emphasised.

To this end, the leadership of the association has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to provide security for Fulani herdsmen particularly those in Benue and Taraba states that are currently facing all forms of threat.

“The grazing law agenda is destroying herders means of livelihood and we are appealing for immediate intervention to safe the Fulani pastoralist from the total destruction of their means of livelihood by current trends from some state governors enacting segregational anti-grazing law which targets primarily at the economic livelihood of the herders”.

The President however debunked insinuations that there are plans by the herders to attack Benue communities, stressing that Fulanis are peaceful and law abiding citizens who will not do anything that will truncate peaceful coexistence.

According to the national leaders “At the end of the north west meeting, after series of deliberations, we are completely opposed to the anti grazing law, and we are worried on the possible crisis that may emerge if such laws are allowed to take effect.

“It is a negative law because it attempts to expel Fulani herdsmen from their grazing areas for ages, besides, that of Benue anti grazing law, no herder were involved during the cause of its preparation to get their input. To us, ensuring security of citizens should be the priority of governance, but this anti grazing law is nothing but a time bomb if not addressed with wisdom.

“It is a national challenge that requires a National interventions by well meaning government, because it is capable of creating serious conflicts on the land resources, hence developing a policy of sustainable management of land resources is of essence.

“We have continued to appeal to our members to be law abiding and I want to say categorically that the rumours that Fulani herdsmen are planning to attack communities in Benue State is not true and must be ignored by well meaning Nigerians.

” We will continue to support Federal government policies on crop and animal farming, particularly on the agro rangers which is aimed at providing security for all categories of farmers.

” We are therefore appealing on the IGP Ibrahim Idris to provide security for Fulani herdsmen against all forms of threat occasioned by the anti grazing law to avoid emerging conflicts” the association leadership said.   (The Sun)

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