President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the AGF, Abubakar Malami to go and dig gazette of the First Republic to know and recover cattle routes and grazing areas where herdsmen used designated grazing routes to move cattle to several parts of the country from those that have converted the grazing routes to their personal use.
In an interview he granted Arise TV, the President said: “What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the First Republic when people were obeying laws. There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they had to go through there.
“If you allow your cattle to stray into any farm, you are arrested. The farmer is invited to submit his claims. The Khadi or the judge will say pay this amount and if you can’t the cattle is sold. And if there is any benefit, you are given and people were behaving themselves and in the grazing areas, they built dams, put windmills in some places there were even veterinary departments so that the herders are limited. Their route is known, their grazing area is known. So, 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.”
Responding to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom’s, implementation of anti-open grazing law and for accusing the President of failing to take actions against herdsmen because he is also a member of the Fulani herders, the President said: “The problem is trying to understand the culture of the cattle rearers. There is a cultural difference between the Tiv and the Fulani. So, the Governor of Benue said I am not disciplining the cattle rearers because I am one of them.
“I cannot say I am not one of them but he is being very unfair to me and I told him that the Nigerian cattle rearer was not carrying anything more than a stick, sometime with a machete to cut some trees and feed his cattle but those sophisticated ones move with AK 47.
“So, from other areas, people rush to Nigeria. You know Fulani from Mauritania and Central Africa look the same, so they feel they are the Nigerian ones and I assure you that we are trying to resuscitate these cattle routes, grazing areas and make them accountable.”
He lambasted the Governors for not doing enough in protecting their people after being elected to do so.
“These Governors campaigned and won elections, they should be able to sort out issues arising in their localities, not running to the presidency. You know these people more than I do, and you are democratically elected to protect your people. Don’t sit idly expecting me to do everything, take action,”