President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that under the Land Use Act of 1978, he lacks the constitutional power to create cattle colonies across the country.
This is as he said the government is committed to laying foundations upon which and equitable and progressive society can be built, where all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potentials without let or hindrance.
Buhari made the declaration saturday while speaking at the South-South Zonal meeting of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The President, who was represented by his Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said provisions of the Land Use Act gave powers to state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domain.
Reading the president’s speech, Enang said, “When Nigeria was one region or state, that before Nigeria was formed as a country, we had cattle routes running from Chad, Niger and others down to the Atlantic. When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions.
“When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state, March 28, I think I am correct, the Land Use Act was made. Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has power to control lands in Abuja only.
“Under the Land Use Act, each state governor, under Section 2 of the Land Use Act, land in urban areas of each of the state of the Federation shall be vested on the governor. Now, subsection 1(2b) says land in the rural areas shall be vested on the local government chairman of that area.”
Buhari also announced the approval of the first phase of an economic empowerment initiative for no fewer than 200 women and children in each of the senatorial districts the South-South geopolitical zone of the country.
The president said, “I have the pleasure to acknowledge, as I announce the first phase of a new Council for New Nigeria (CNN) /NCBSG economic empowerment initiative to support the growth of women and youth-led micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the South-South Zone.
“The first phase will provide small economic activity grants to 200 women and youths in each senatorial district in this Zone. CNN/NCBSG shall work with stakeholders to identity beneficiaries to be announced in due course.”
The President stated that the commitment of his administration to laying the foundations informed its actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the land.
He said, “As a government, we are committed to laying the foundations upon which an equitable and progressive society can be built, in which all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potentials without let or hindrance.
“This informed our actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, gradually but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the land.
“While it is still work in progress, we are confident that the amount of work done in the first 32 months of this administration points to a new solid foundation for building the Nigeria of our dreams.
“Not only did we ease out of an inevitable recession in record time, our revenue profile, our foreign reserves and foreign investments are all on the rise again; and we have paid mobilized contractors back to project sites across the country, including the South-South Zone.”
In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, said Buhari has proven to the people of South-South and South-East geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.
Nwuke, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), described the President as a Niger Delta brand for the 2019 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Lamido Sanusi II, Lamido of Adamawa Muhammadu Barkindo Musdafa, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and Dr. Aliyu Tilde have met with the leadership of various Fulani socio-cultural groups and cattle breeders’ associations.
The meeting, which took place yesterday in Abuja, was to find ways of ending the recurring violent clashes involving cattle rearers and other Nigerians.
Among the cattle breeders met by the group were the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Miyetti Allah Katul Houre and the cultural group, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association.
The Emir said there was on-going effort to ending the lingering crisis between stakeholders and the federal government and urged members of various associations to avoid conflict that would lead to disunity.
He disclosed that at the meeting of the Federal Government’s team, steered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, useful suggestions were made on forging peace.
The meeting was attended by the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Minister of Interior Abdulrahaman Danbazzau and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris as well Emir Sanusi, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and Lamido of Adamawa, among others.
At the Abuja meeting, the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh agreed to send out his officials to trace the gazetted grazing reserves across the country and the need for the federal government to assist herdsmen with feeds and water as it is done in developed countries of the world.
He said stakeholders would also liaise with state governors of Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kano, who have indicated interest in allocating grazing reserves, with a view to developing such.
The Emir also explained that the meeting also resolved that Vice president Osinbajo should explore the possibility of persuading governors who have spoken out against donating land for grazing reserves to jettison such position.
He also disclosed that Inspector General of Police was urged to clampdown on anybody who possesses illegal arms and prevail on state governments not to arm militias.
He urged herdsmen to imbibe the culture of patience and perseverance even in the face of provocation, adding that patience is strength rather weakness.
He urged various Fulani associations to identify criminals within their midst for prosecution, while also appealing to Nigerians, especially the media to avoid ethnic profiling whenever a crime is committed by persons of certain tribe, saying criminals have no tribal marks.
Leaders of various associations in their separate presentations agreed to take the message of peace to their members, even as they agreed with whatever resolutions taken between the stakeholders and federal government in the interest of peace and unity of the country.