GRAZING BILL: SYNONYM FOR NATIONAL DISASTER

The story is told of how King Yunfa, the Hausa Sarkin in Gobir (now called Sokoto) hosted a Fulani immigrant called Usman Dan Fodiyo and his group in February 1804. As a result of this magnanimity, the whole of the northern region lost its kingdoms and were replaced by Fulani emirates from 1808.

King Yunfa is said to have been killed in 1808 and the Fulani warrior (Usman Dan Fodiyo) established Sokoto caliphate, making himself Sultan.

Gradually, other Hausa kingdoms were pillaged and taken over by the Fulani emirs. The ethnic groups in the core north were the first victims of Fulani imperialism, a venture that occurred because the people were given access to grazing land as a result of the hospitality of the hosts.

They however failed to overrun the Bornu kingdom, so the Shehu of Bornu remains paramount till today!

The Afonja dynasty compromised by allowing a Fulani warrior known as Janta Alimi to settle in Ilorin. The Fulani guerrillas killed Afonja in 1824.

And Ilorin, a Yoruba town under the Oyo empire, fell into Fulani hands, becoming an emirate under Sokoto caliphate till today! Even the attempts of the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) to revert to status quo and crown an ‘Onilorin’ of Ilorin became an exercise in futility.

The Yoruba warriors got wise and defeated the Fulani jihadists in Osogbo in 1840. If this didn’t happen there would most likely have been Fulani ’emirs’ as rulers in Oyo Alaafin, Ibadan, Owo, Osogbo, Ede, Ado, and Igede Ekiti today!

If the Bini Kingdom did not fight and repel the jihadists, they would have penetrated the Edo/Delta region beyond the present day Edo North Senatorial District which gave in and allowed the jihadists to overrun & islamize them.

Along with some ignorant folk most of them are now angling for grazing areas and a corridor through the entire federation. These grazing areas will in future become Fulani settlements, later commmunities and finally local government areas with elected officials.

The once beautiful and serene Middle Belt state of Plateau is a victim of this nefarious scheme.

Therefore, it will not be farfetched to conclude that the Fulani herdsmen are pawns in an agenda to overrun all towns in Nigeria! The master planners want us to have emirs in Owerri, Enugu, Benin, Agatu, Abeokuta and other towns where FG creates ‘grazing reserves’ for Fulani herdsmen!

If Yunfa didn’t accommodate Fodio and his warlike immigrants from Futatoro, Hausa sarkins would be ruling today in the north!

And if Afonja didn’t conspire with Alimi, a Yoruba kingdom would not have been ruled by Alimi’s offspring till today!

It is a subtle continuation of the 1804 Fulani jihad by the fully-armed and protected Fulani herdsmen with an age-old agenda to overrun and Islamize the whole of Nigeria very quickly.

The grazing bill is not an attempt to solve the problem, it’s a subterfuge to progress the agenda. It’s an age-old political strategy really — create a problem, come up with a ‘solution’ that advances the cause, and then give it a legal backing. Make it look like a win-win situation.

We join our voices with millions of good-spirited Nigerians in rejecting this Bill, especially because of its manifestly dangerous consequences on us as a nation.

Is there anyone still in doubt? Let’s break it down for you.

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The proposed Grazing Bill is for the establishment of national grazing routes and reserves for the Fulani herdsmen. The essence of this Bill is to establish National Grazing Routes and Reserves Commission, which shall acquire lands in all the 36 states of the Federation for the purpose of grazing and ranching. It is targeted to curb incessant conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and livestock farmers and settlers in Nigeria, as they want us to believe.

The bill, when enacted into law, will be known as the National Grazing Route and Reserve Commission. The commission is expected to establish cattle routes, farm camp and grazing reserves in different parts of the country. It is expected to manage, control and maintain the cattle routes and grazing reserves and farm camps, while at the same time, prescribe those who may use the grazing reserve and the number and type of stocks that may be permitted therein. Also, the commission will prescribe the parts of the grazing reserve and route which may be used and the times when they may be used.

The grazing commission is expected to foster peace in the grazing routes and reserves and at the same time, improve land use and land management. Since the objective is to encourage ranching as an alternative to grazing livestock, the grazing areas shall crystallize or may be used as ranches as Nigeria develops.

As a means of dissuading an abuse of the grazing routes, the bill proposed that no person, other than a government officer on duty shall enter any grazing route or reserve unless he is authorised to do so by this law or regulations. Also, no person shall alienate any right affecting land included in the Government Grazing Route and Reserve, which has been established in accordance with this Act, by sale, transfer, mortgage without the consent of the Commission first had and obtained. Furthermore, the bill proposes that if any right within a government grazing route or reserve is not exercised for a period of 10 years, it shall be deemed to have been extinguished. Again, the sponsor propounds that where a land has been marked a government grazing route or reserve, the Commission may be subject to the consent of the Minister, close any right of way or watercourse where he is of the opinion that there already exists an equally convenient right of way or watercourse.

Reeling out the procedure for acquiring grazing routes, the bill proposes that the Commission, saddled with the responsibility of the route, shall undertake a physical/geographical analysis of the land use in each of the states in order to ascertain the best and most appropriate place to locate the Federal Government Reserve and Route within the said state. In addition, after having undertaken the analysis of the Grazing Reserves and Routes, the commission will approach each State Governor, with the co-operation of the member of the Commission from that state, to negotiate with the Governor to transfer the land to the Commission for the purpose of grazing routes and reserve. Whenever land has been transferred by the Governor to the Commission for use as grazing routes and reserve, the Governor is expected to set forth the limits of the lands which constitute the Reserve.

Section 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of  Nigeria grants every citizen right to property, including land and Section 44 says that such land can only be acquired compulsorily, whether by Grazing Commission or any other person, upon proper notice, upon payment of appropriate compensation and if the acquisition is for public purposes. This is also replicated in Articles 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Thus, it is totally unconstitutional to seek to acquire another person’s land to be transferred for the private business of another person. The State must not be seen to be using the powers and instruments of authority to muzzle a citizen in favour of another citizen.

The problem with the bill is that it will soon lead to an upsurge of violence from other places. Surely, there are hunters all over the land who need forests reserves to do business; so also the fishermen and women, who need water reserves and ocean boundaries to carry on their fishing. There will be no end to this, as virtually everyone will love to take advantage of federal intervention to promote their private businesses.

The role of government is to create enabling environment for the practice of trades and businesses, and not directly to take over the responsibility of providing the resources needed for a particular trade or vocation. In many cases, the local herdsman is not the true and actual owner of the cattle, but rather a representative of some business man who has only invested money on the cattles for the purpose of raking in some profit. So in essence, the herdsman is like a shepherd or guardian of some sort. And if any land is given to him, it will eventually and assuredly pass to the businessman that sponsored him.

It is argued that many of the herdsmen are really not Nigerians but are just hiding under the umbrella of language and religion to take advantage of the economy of Nigeria. So the question then arises: how do we confiscate land from Nigerians and then turn around to transfer the said land to foreigners? It is indeed a burden on the nation to set citizens against themselves in the name of grazing. Already, some people have started reading religious meanings into this development.

The Land Use Act has not abrogated the ownership of land from the people through the Governors. In fact, Section 34 of the  Land Use Act has granted a deemed right of occupancy to the owners of land such that even without going through the Governor or obtaining relevant title documents, their ownership is well preserved.

It is in the best interest of the country for the National Assembly to jettison and discard the Grazing Bill, as it is only a synonym for national disaster!
Credit: Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa of Vanguard Nigeria, Available at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/grazing-bill-ill-wind-will-blow-no-good/

About Dr. Ken

Medical Doctor, Publisher, Editor, Novelist, Playwright, Visionary Poet, Activist, Blogger
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One Response to GRAZING BILL: SYNONYM FOR NATIONAL DISASTER

  1. Eghosa says:

    Grazing routes and reserves should be located in the state of origin of the owner of the livestock. Edo man should not have a grazing reserve in Kano, so also a Sokoto man can’t have in Edo. It’s a way of stealing other people’s land.

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