Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has said President Muhammadu Buhari should stop chasing the shadows of reviving grazing reserves in 25 states of the country but should instead support the state governments to develop ranches on their own.
Mr Falana said while the federal government doesn’t control land use, it can approve the sum of $15.180 million (some N6.25 billion) for every other State Government for ranch development purposes as was approved for Katsina State.
The senior lawyer stated this in a statement on Sunday in his capacity as the interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB).
Falana in the statement recalled how President Buhari approved the sum of N6.25 billion for the immediate establishment of ranching in Katsina state as disclosed by his media aide Garba Shehu in a July 16 statement.
The Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari also confirmed the approval when he said “Mr President has graciously approved the sum of N6.25 billion for ranch development purposes in Katsina State.”
This approval according to the group is an indication that President Buhari has adopted ranching to replace open grazing.
The statement read in parts, “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.
“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 its 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.”