South South Governors Forum, and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state have tackled President Muhammadu Buhari over his order to review 368 grazing sites in 25 states in the country.
The governors expressed shock at the decision of the Federal Government to go ahead with the plan to review the establishment of grazing sites, despite the stiff opposition to it by the people of Southern Nigeria.
On his part, Governor Ortom said he was disappointed with members of the committee which recommended that grazing reserves be established in parts of the country.
“They are the real enemies of Nigeria. Theirs is hypocrisy of the highest order. Members of the committee should know that posterity will judge everyone according to their deeds here on earth. Above all, there is God.”
Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and Delta State Governor Okowa, noted that President Buhari’s decision subtly reminded him that governors had the authority over the lands in their states.
Governor Okowa, who spoke through the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the state House of Assembly had already passed into law the anti-open grazing bill.
“We are in a country of law and the law has given governors the control of land in their states. The governor is the one who gives the Certificate of Occupancy to every individual and allows them to have full ownership of the land.
“We are convinced that very soon, the Federal Government will begin to have a rethink, knowing well that it is not legal for Mr President to be the one to map out land in the states.”
In a state by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ortom,
Terver Akase maintained that “If President Buhari must actualize his cattle agenda in Benue State, he should be ready to kill all of us! We know that grazing reserves and cattle routes are the only project that the President has for Nigeria, but Benue is not interested in such a project.
“Governor Samuel Ortom has repeatedly stated that there is no land for grazing reserves or cattle routes in Benue State.
“Though the Federal Government craftily concealed the names of states where Mr President has ordered that grazing reserves be foisted on the people, we wish to categorically state that no part of Benue will be allocated for grazing reserves or cattle routes!
“The stand of the Governor is not personal; it is the collective decision of Benue people. There is no gazetted land or cattle route in Benue State. Our state should be counted out of the proposed grazing reserves programme.
“They introduced Cattle Colonies, Ruga and National Water Resources Bill, but Nigerians rejected all the policies.
“The latest push for grazing reserves and cattle routes is surely the final onslaught against majority of Nigerians who must be deprived of their God-given lands to accommodate foreign herdsmen moving into the country for the occupation agenda.”
President Buhari had on Thursday approved the recommendations of a committee to review with dispatch 368 grazing sites in 25 states in the country to determine the levels of encroachment.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari approves review of grazing reserves in 25 states.’
Categories: James Ibechi