Buhari backs open grazing, asks Malami to recover land for herdsmen

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ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval return of open practised during First where herdsmen used designated routes move their cattle several parts of the country.

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

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

President said grazing routes were designated in 1st when “ 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 it was like northern governors banning spare part trading, a job 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?”

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

“If you allow your cattle to stray into any farm, you are arrested. The farmer is invited to submit 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 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 those who encroached on these 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 Governor, , who had not only implemented an aggressive 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 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 cattle rearer was not carrying anything more than a stick sometime with a machete to cut some trees and feed 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 ones and I assure you that we are trying to resuscitate these , grazing areas and make them accountable.”