-States have right to enact law – Senate
Ahead of today’s visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to Benue, Fulani pastoralists have tasked the president to also visit their kinsmen displaced as a result of the anti-grazing law.
Specifically, the herdsmen urged the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, to suspend the anti-grazing law as precondition for peace and harmony in the state. Speaking with newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, National Coordinator, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Barrister Garus Gololo, alleged that Ortom used his security guards to chase out Fulani pastoralists from the state.
According to Gololo, about 120 Fulani in the state lost their lives and 10, 000 of their cattle so far, calling on President Buhari to use his visit to give them audience to express their feelings. The coordinator therefore appealed to President Buhari to call on Ortom to suspend the anti-grazing law, adding that the suspension of the law would bring back peace and harmony that was prevalent in the state.
“Our able President, I am appealing to you to visit our displaced brothers and sisters, most of us, especially I Garus Gololo, my office, house and car were burnt down and there was an attempt to kill me. I have to run to Abuja where I am squatting presently.
“I am crying out to you as a father of the nation to help us out,” Gololo stressed. He called on all Fulani pastoralists to come out en-masse to give the president a heroic welcome.
‘States can enact law’
Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru, has thrown his weight behind the enactment of anti–grazing laws by some states.
The senator who described the law as “in order” said for as long as due process is followed by the state Houses of Assembly in the promulgation of such laws, their implementation wouldn’t contravene existing statutes.
Umaru, representing Niger East at the National Assembly, stated this at the weekend in an interview with journalists in Minna. He said there was nothing wrong with the anti-grazing law if it meets the aspirations of the people in the concerned states, in addition to the involvement of critical stakeholders during public hearings organised for the purpose of enacting such laws.
The senator said the state governors do not have the right to confiscate and turn peoples’ land into grazing reserves or colonies. He explained that it was unlawful for some state governments, including that of Niger state, to dispossess ordinary people of their land in the name of creating grazing colonies or reserves, adding that “it is known that a Fulani man does not believe in staying in one place, so let’s be sincere to find the source of the problem and how to solve it immediately.”
He called on the federal government to fish out those behind the killings in parts of the country in the name of Fulani herdsmen. “I am a peasant man and I have lived together peacefully for decades with Fulani herdsmen. These Fulani men cannot be the ones attacking us.
Government should urgently identify the killerherdsmen if we agree that they are not the ones that have co-existed with us for years,” he said. Umaru lamented that the security situation in the country was capable of negatively affecting the 2019 general elections if not solved, noting that elections won’t be free and fair if people can’t come out to exercise their franchise due to security concerns.
He urged governments at all levels to check the increasing security concerns, warning that it could affect the corporate existence of the country.