Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has said moves by President Muhammadu Buhari to retrieve 368 grazing reserves in 25 out of the 36 states in the country are a waste of taxpayers’ money and an ethnic agenda.
In a statement issued by the group's Secretary-General, Chief Sola Ebiseni, Afenifere said moves by Buhari did not come as a surprise to the group as Buhari never ceased to be wasting taxpayers’ scarce resources on a programme which lacked capacity.
The Afenifere statement partly reads, “The approval by President Muhammadu Buhari to review, with dispatch, 368 Grazing Reserves across allegedly 25 states in the country to determine the levels of encroachment did not surprise Nigerians.
“It does not also matter that having felt the pulse of the nation in his interview with the Arise television in June, the President is still wasting taxpayers’ scarce resources on a programme whose conception lacks all conceivable growth capacity.
“It is instructive that the recommendation and implementation committee is headed by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to the President who, in conjunction with Professor Attahiru Jega, during the first term of Buhari, presented a “Memorandum On Pastoralist-Farmers’ Conflicts And the search for peaceful Resolution” published in January 2018, which contained the same recommendations now being foisted on the nation.
“They have submitted, among other recommendations that “it is clear that Nigeria and indeed Africa have to plan towards the transformation of pastoralism into settled forms of animal husbandry.”
“The establishment of grazing reserves provides the opportunity for practising a more limited form of pastoralism and is, therefore, a pathway towards a more settled form of animal husbandry. Grazing reserves are areas of land demarcated, set aside and reserved for exclusive or semi-exclusive use by pastoralists”
Ebiseni noted that “Currently, Nigeria has a total of 417 grazing reserves all over the country, out of which only about 113 have been gazetted. Thus, the present policy of the Buhari administration on grazing reserves is the implementation of the script by the Fulani intelligentsia.
“The recommendations which pandered to deceptive national solutions to orchestrated farmers/herders’ clash, nonetheless reek of the odiferous stench of ethnic agenda for settlement of the Fulani in the ancestral lands of other ethnic nationalities.
“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 therefrom, 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 taxpayers’ money but also 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 a settled life for them (the herders) in the territory where the culture is fully appreciated.”