As a measure in curbing the Fulani herdsmen menace across the country, there was a supposed ‘National Grazing Reserve Council Bill’. Responding to this on Sunday, May 1, the Nigerian National Assembly publicly denied and denounced the grazing bill.
The endorsement of this bill means that farmers across the nation stand a chance of legally losing their lands to Fulani herdsmen. Many Nigerians have blatantly rejected the idea. Guardian describes it as an invitation to danger. It will be absolutely unfair to rob farmers of their landed properties over a somewhat monetary compensation. Worse still, a nepotistic approach since the aim is to please the business of a particular tribe.
After an emergency summit attended by South East lawmakers, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu says there is no such bill before the house.
“There is no such proposal or bill on the creation of grazing reserves either in the Senate or House of Representatives.”
Going further on, the Senator says that the supposed bill was an untrue rumor spread by the media.
“Nobody is considering it; not even at the executive level. I do not think they are considering it but we will not support it even if it has been considered.”
This response however brings in an air of confusion. Previous reports insinuate that the bill has already “scaled through second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives”. Now Legislators are denying such facts in the media.
The supposed Grazing Bill implies that:
“The NGRC (National Grazing Reserve Commission) will be charged with the responsibility of using funds received from the Federal Government to forcefully acquire farmlands from Nigerians in all the 36 states of the country, develop same at government expense through the provision of bore holes, water reservoirs, etc; for the exclusive use of nomadic cattle rearers.”
Rejecting this grazing bill will be speaking the minds of many including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Nigerians insist that this is an indirect infringement of people’s ownership rights.
A better and more appropriate solution will be to advise the cattle owners (whom include President Buhari and other prominent government figures) to procure and set up ranches for their cattle. Same idea has worked for farmers all over the world in the fishery and poultry sectors.
It is feared that if the supposed grazing bill currently in denial proves to be true and finally endorsed, a full blown ethnic war might spark off in the country.
Still commiserating with the affected and afflicted victims of the Fulani attacks, the Senator also commended all those who have helped them in one way or another. He says another meeting has been scheduled to ensure that a practical and effective plan is set in motion to avoid another herdsmen attack.