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BREAKING: Southern Governors Reconvene In Lagos To Discuss Buhari’s Land Recovery Order For Fulani Herdsmen |RN

Some Southern Governors arriving at venue of  meeting in Asaba

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue

Governors Fayemi, Wike, Umahi, Okowa and Makinde during the Southern governors meeting on insecurity on Tuesday, May 11
President Muhammadu Buhari’s order on the recovery of grazing routes for herders will top the agenda of today’s meeting of 17 southern governors, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was gathered that the meeting, which would hold eight weeks after the governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, would further assess decisions taken in Asaba on the open grazing ban, restructuring, fiscal federalism and the call for state police.

The governors would be hosted by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the meeting which would start by 10am today (Monday).

Aside from the host governor, others expected at the meeting are Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Diri Duoye (Bayelsa), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Oluwaseyi Makinde (Oyo), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).

Recall that the governors in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in Asaba, banned open grazing as part of moves to address killings and kidnapping by herdsmen.

But a few days after the meeting, the Presidency faulted the ban on open grazing. The Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had, in a statement, said, “It is equally true that their (governors’) announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT), regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”

Also, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, slammed the southern governors for banning open grazing.

According to the AGF, open grazing ban is the same thing as Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region, considering the fact that southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.

The President, during a recorded television interview in June, also backed Malami’s position, adding that he had directed that grazing routes be recovered.

When asked if he agreed with the AGF’s position, Buhari had responded, “You want me to contradict my attorney-general?”

Explaining further, he said, “What I did was to ask him to go and dig the gazette of the First Republic when people were obeying laws. There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they had to go through there.

“If you allow your cattle to stray into any farm, you are arrested. The farmer is invited to submit his claims. The khadi or the judge will say pay this amount and if you can’t the cattle is sold. And if there is any benefit, you are given and people were behaving themselves and in the grazing areas, they built dams, put windmills in some places there were even veterinary departments so that the herders are limited. Their route is known, their grazing area is known.

“But I am telling you, this rushing to the centre (sic) so I asked for the gazette to make sure that those who encroached on these cattle routes and grazing areas will be dispossessed in law and try to bring some order back into the cattle grazing.”

Speaking to The PUNCH on Sunday, a top source close to one of the governors said the southern governors were disturbed about Buhari’s order on grazing routes, adding that they suspected a hidden agenda.

The source also stated, “The governors will meet physically tomorrow (Monday) in Alausa, Lagos. All the 17 governors in Southern Nigeria will be present at the meeting. They will speak on some of the issues they raised in Asaba.”

Asked of the issues that would top agenda at the meeting, another source close to one the governors in the South-West, South-South and South-East said the governors would deliberate on the pronouncement of the President.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said, “They would discuss the issue of security and open grazing ban. They are going to focus on topical political issues. The governors will be deliberating on the recent order by the President that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recover some lands for herdsmen to graze in the country. They believe it is an agenda to Fulanise the country.”

Also, one of the information managers to one of the governors in the region, said, “The meeting will address killings in spite of the ban on open grazing. Aside from open grazing, restructuring, autonomy for judiciary will also be discussed.

“The attorney general of the federation is not an attorney general of the Federal Government. He is an attorney general of the federation behaving like the attorney general of the Federal Government. So, any case involving anybody with the Federal Government is a lost case because you have an attorney general of the federation behaving like the attorney general of the Federal Government.

“When the southern governors banned open grazing, the AGF declared the act as illegal. They didn’t react when he said that. That is how mature people behave. But tomorrow, the governors will take a position on the Federal Government’s reaction,” the source said.

Asked whether the governors would also discuss the raid by the Department of State Services on the Ibadan house of Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho, the source stated, “Igboho is not nationalistic. The agenda of the Southern governors is broader than Igboho but you can’t rule it out that when they are talking of regional security, they would talk about him.

“They spoke about him when Igboho spoke against herders-farmers crisis but they stopped talking about him the moment some people entered into his head and he started Yoruba nation rally. It is not a right time at all.”

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Grazing Routes: Buhari Pushing Nigeria To Anarchy —Gani Adams |The Republican News

Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Gani Adams

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, says the people of the South-West geopolitical zone are against the Federal Government’s move to recover grazing routes for herders to graze their cattle in the country.

According to him, the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will be “creating an unnecessary tension” in the region if it goes ahead with the move.

Adams, who spoke in a chat with The PUNCH on Saturday, also alleged that the Federal Government is driving the country to a point of anarchy through its unpopular policies and actions.

The PUNCH had reported that the President in a recent television interview supported open grazing and directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to produce a gazette which delineated grazing routes in all parts of the country in the First Republic.

Some human rights activists including Femi Falana (SAN), subsequently kicked against the move, saying grazing routes existed only in Northern Nigeria and not in the southern part of the country.

Although some of the routes are believed to have been encroached upon due to human activities, The PUNCH found out that the government had embarked on a process of identifying monuments along the routes in order to get them back as locations for cattle grazing.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also said that the routes’ recovery would go on despite stiff oppositions to it.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Saturday, Adams said grazing routes “cannot work because the entire Southern Nigeria has spoken and we are against open grazing; the governors in the region have banned it already and lawmakers have started enacting laws in their state assemblies to ban it.

“The Federal Government should recognise that we have three tiers of government and should not create an impression that every law is in the hands of the Federal Government. The issue of open grazing should be a state law and a local government law because it is about the security of the state.

“Open grazing has been constituting security threats and has caused a lot of deaths of citizens and this is giving Nigeria a very bad image before the international community. The Federal Government should go against anything which threatens lives and property of Nigerians. If it encourages anything that will create insecurity, then, those in government have hidden agenda towards Southerners.”

“The Federal Government is driving the country to the point of anarchy and political instability by confronting the southern governors on the ban of open grazing. Open grazing is an insecurity of the highest order in the country.

“I don’t know why the President is bringing up an old law that was not even reflected in the 1999 Constitution. It is impossible for him to bring it up now. We will take a necessary position if that happens,” he added. (Punch)

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Buhari Supports Open Grazing, Gives AGF Order To Recover Lands, Routes For Fulani Herdsmen |RN

By Eniola Akinkuotu


The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has given approval to the return of the open grazing practised during the 1st Republic where herdsmen used designated grazing routes to move their cattle to several parts of the country.

To this end, the President said he had asked the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.

Buhari said this during an interview with Arise Television which was aired on Thursday.

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The President said the grazing routes were designated in the 1st Republic when “Nigerians use to obey laws” but those routes had been converted.

Buhari was reacting to a question on the decision by 17 southern governors to ban open grazing.

The AGF had kicked against the declaration by the governors, adding that it was like northern governors banning spare part trading, a job that is synonymous with southerners.

When asked if he agreed with the AGF’s position, Buhari laughingly responded, “You want me to contradict my attorney-general?”

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Explaining further, he said, “What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the 1st Republic when people were obeying laws. There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they had to go through there.


“If you allow your cattle to stray into any farm, you are arrested. The farmer is invited to submit his claims. The khadi or the judge will say pay this amount and if you can’t the cattle is sold. And if there is any benefit, you are given and people were behaving themselves and in the grazing areas, they built dams, put windmills in some places there were even veterinary departments so that the herders are limited. Their route is known, their grazing area is known.

“But I am telling you, this rushing to the centre (sic) so I asked for the gazette to make sure that those who encroached on these cattle routes and grazing areas will be dispossessed in law and try to bring some order back into the cattle grazing.”

He also lamented the style and utterances of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who had not only implemented an aggressive anti-open grazing law but had accused Buhari of failing to take actions against herdsmen because he is also a member of the Fulani herders.

Buhari said indeed, he is a Fulani man but Ortom was being unfair to him. He said he had told Ortom that the herdsmen perpetrating the attacks are not the Nigerian ones.

The President further explained that the Tivs, which form the majority in Benue, and the Fulanis had been engaged in cultural conflicts for a long time.

He added, “The problem is trying to understand the culture of the cattle rearers. There is a cultural difference between the Tivs and the Fulanis. So, the governor of Benue said I am not disciplining the cattle rearers because I am one of them.

“I cannot say I am not one of them but he is being very unfair to me and I told him that the Nigerian cattle rearer was not carrying anything more than a stick sometime with a machete to cut some trees and feed his cattle but those sophisticated ones move with AK 47.

“So, from other areas, people rush to Nigeria you know and Fulanis from Mauritania and Central Africa look the same so they feel they are the Nigerian ones and I assure you that we are trying to resuscitate these cattle routes, grazing areas and make them accountable.”. (Punch)

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Herdsmen To Pay For Grazing Reserves, State, Community Police Will End Killings – VP Osibanjo

yemi-osinbajo1
                          Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Lekan Adetayo, Leke Baiyewu and Olaleye Aluko

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday stated that the Federal Government lacked the powers to seize land from states for the establishment of grazing reserves or livestock production centres.

Osinbajo also announced that herdsmen would pay for the services to be rendered by the proposed ranches or grazing reserves by the government.

He stated these at the opening ceremony of a two-day summit on national security organised by the Senate in Abuja.

Also in attendance are the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.); the service chiefs and senators.

Osinbajo said, “Let me reiterate that on no account will any land be seized or forcefully taken to create ranches or grazing areas. All insinuations to that effect should be disregarded. No one is giving land to herdsmen, as is being falsely alleged.

“Instead, it is in our view that states that are willing and have set aside land for development should cooperate with willing investors in commercially-viable, government-supported ranches or livestock production centres for commercial use.”

The VP however pointed out that some states, especially in the North, had duly gazetted grazing reserves.

According to him, a majority of these grazing reserves are degraded and without pasture or water, especially during the dry season.

He added, “There is also a clear sense which I think must be appreciated, that the Federal Government cannot dictate to states what to do with their land. This is so because the Land Use Act of 1978 puts land under the control of governors on behalf of their states.

“Also, the Supreme Court in the case of the Attorney General of Lagos State versus the Attorney General of the Federation in 2004, held that the use of land resources and permits for such use lie firmly in the hands of state governments. Even for use of federal lands in the states according to the Supreme Court, building or development control permit must be sought from the governors of the states.”

Osinbajo noted that grazing routes leading to these reserves must also be secured.

He said for the grazing reserves to be effective and operate effectively, they should be operated as ranches or livestock production centres on a commercial basis.

Osinbajo said, “The ranches will have adequate water from boreholes, salt points and pasture. The locations would serve both as forage points and centres for providing extension services to boost animal care, feeding and veterinary facilities, and even abattoirs. Because the ranches are commercial ventures, cattle owners will pay for their use.

“It is important to note that by and large, in consultation with stakeholders, all agree that where adequate provision is made on a commercial basis, there is no reason why there won’t be cooperation to use those ranches because there are both economic and social benefits for everyone, including herders.”

Osinbajo said apart from states that had gazetted grazing areas, 13 states had agreed to allocate 5,000 hectares of land for ranching or livestock production.

He also stated that decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force and creation of state police were some of the ways to go in tackling the herdsmen and farmers’ violence in the country.

The VP said, “The first is that the nature of our security challenges is complex. Securing Nigeria’s over 923,768 square kilometres and its 180 million people requires far more men and materials than we have at the moment. It also requires a continual re-engineering of our security architecture and strategies. This has to be a dynamic process.

“For a country our size to meet the one policeman to 400 persons, the United Nations prescribed ratio, it would require nearly tripling our current police force, far more funding of the police, military and security agencies is required.

“Secondly, we cannot realistically police a country the size of  Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go.

“Thirdly, we must intensify existing collaboration with our neighbours in the Chad Basin, especially border communities, to prevent the movement of small arms, and disarming armed pastoralists and bandits who go through our borders day after day.

“Lastly, we must avoid the dangers of allowing these conflicts to become  religious or ethnic conflicts. This is the responsibility of political, religious and all other parts our leadership elite in Nigeria.”

Osinbajo dismissed the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was indifferent to the killings by Fulani herdsmen because he is Fulani.

“Let me preface this by saying that every Nigerian is entitled to adequate security from government for their lives and livelihoods. Government may slip in that responsibility often but I must say never deliberately. Every killing demeans us as a people. Every killing undermines the authority of the state.

“This is why the suggestion sometimes that because President Buhari is Fulani, he has ignored the killings by herdsmen is both untrue and unfair. In any event, herdsmen and farmer clashes resulting in deaths have been with us for at least two decades. And I have worked with him for three years now, and I do not know of any one issue that has given him more concern or on which he has spent more time with security chiefs as this particular issue.”

In his speech, Saraki stated that the summit was convened as a matter of national urgency.

“We are here because in the face of escalating threats to the peace and security of our dear country, it becomes necessary to put heads together, share ideas and map out strategies to see us out of the current predicament,” he said.

The Senate President pointed out that what Nigeria needed was a leadership that would douse the tension in the country

He said, “What our country needs at this time is leadership that will work to douse the flames and reduce tension in the land. It is essential that we lower the barriers in our actions and rhetoric, and refrain from playing politics with a crisis situation in which Nigerians’ lives are being lost, tragically and needlessly, on a regular basis.”

Saraki recalled that the Senate on November 30, 2017, inaugurated the Ad Hoc Committee on Review of Security Infrastructure in the country as the Senate was “increasingly concerned at the spate of crises and insecurity in many parts of the country and knew that we needed to do something about it.”    (Punch)

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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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