The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Thursday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
The President had during an interview on Arise TV on Thursday morning backed open grazing in the country.
He said the grazing routes were designated in the 1st Republic when “Nigerians used to obey laws” but the routes had been converted to personal use by some individuals in the country.
Buhari said: “I asked for the gazette to make sure that those who encroached on these cattle routes and grazing areas will be dispossessed in law and try to bring some order back into the cattle grazing.”
The National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, who reacted to the development in a statement, said the President’s plan to grab lands for open grazing would cause more violence and killings in the country.
The statement read: “The President rather than take steps to order the arrest, swift prosecution and sanction of these armed Fulani herdsmen with the blood of innocent citizens on their hands and who have unleashed a massive scale of violence, President Buhari has continued to stoke the embers of divisiveness by seeking to railroad the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to take lands from states to be made open grazing routes for private owners of cattle.
“This same President did not for once observed a minute silence to honour the memories of the over 10,000 Nigerians citizens slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen but is more concerned about seizing lands to donate for open grazing.
“The tendency to grab lands across the country for open grazing even when under the Land Use Act the governors who have control over lands have rejected open grazing is definitely going to lead to more and more violence and killings even as no effort is made to disarm the armed herders.”
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