The Interim Chair of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana (SAN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do unto other states in the country what he did for his home state, Katsina, regarding the establishment of ranching.
The group, in a statement by Falana on Sunday, reminded Buhari about a July 16, 2021 newspaper report, which disclosed that the President had approved the “sum of N6.25 billion for the immediate establishment of ranching in Katsina state”.
It noted that the disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja.
ASCAB said, “In confirming the disclosure, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said that ‘Mr President has graciously approved the sum of N6.25 billion for ranch development purposes in Katsina State. Part out of this amount, N5 billion, is already in the account of the state government and within few weeks you will see advertisement calling for interested companies and consultants that will participate in construction.
“The implication of the special allocation of the sum of N6.25 billion to the Katsina State Government is that President Buhari has adopted ranching to replace open grazing in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government. However, since what is good for the goose is good for the gander, we call on the President to approve the allocation of the same sum of N6.25 billion for every other State Government for ranch development purposes. This demand is in consonance with section 17 (1) of the Constitution which stipulates that the people of Nigeria shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law.”
Buhari last Thursday approved the recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch, 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, and to determine the levels of encroachment.”
Presidential spokesperson, Shehu, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja.
But the move has been criticised by Southern state governors.
The governors in a swift reaction tackled the President over the order to review with dispatch 368 grazing sites in 25 states across the country.
Several southern groups, including Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere; Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze; and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, have also condemned the move.
The Southern governors and groups have always insisted that herders interested in raising cattle in their region must embrace ranching to curb herders-farmers’ clashes.
The group further noted, “However, since the Northern Governors Forum and the Southern Governors Forum have rejected open grazing and adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government including ranching, the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond is compelled to urge President Buhari to jettison the planned implementation of grazing reserves in 25 States. It is time the attention of the Federal Government was drawn to the position of the law to the effect that while the land in the Federal Capital Territory is vested in the President the land in the each State of the Federation is exclusively vested in the Governor pursuant to the provisions of the Land Use Act, Cap. L5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“The fact of the matter is that the federal government has no business reviving ‘grazing reserves’ on its own as it doesn’t control land use. Instead of chasing the shadows of grazing reserves, the federal government should support the state governments to develop ranches on their own as it has done in Katsina. There should be a proper articulation and implementation of ranching as a solution to the problems arising from the obsolete agricultural practice of open grazing.”