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Buhari Supports Open Grazing, Insists Killer Herdsmen are not Nigerians

  • Instructs Malami to Recover Lands used in the 1960’s for Herdsmen

President Muhammadu Buhari has told the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to commence the process of retrieving lands from those who have converted cattle grazing lands for personal use.

He noted that this was the practice since the First Republic back in the 60s, when herders used specific routes to move their animals back and forth the North.

Buhari who was speaking on Arise TV, was reacting to questions asked him concerning Malami’s comments, when the AGF likened banning of open grazing by 17 Southern Governors to banning of spare parts in the North by Northern Governors.

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

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 said Governor Samuel Ortom’s firm stance against open grazing and herdsmen in general is based on misinformation. This he said is because killer herdsmen are not Nigerians, but from neighbouring countries. He insisted that the Nigerian herders carry sticks and machetes not AK-47 like those from other West African Countries.

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.”

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