15 February 2018

Nigeria: Farmers/ Herders Clashes - Buhari Sets Up Committee to Visit Attacked Communities

Photo: This Day
Farmer vs Herdsman

President Muhammadu Buhari has set up another committee that will visit all communities affected by farmers/herders clashes across the country.

The visit according to Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State is to enable the government to look at ways "to ameliorate the suffering of the people in those areas and to resettle them."

Mr. Abubakar, who addressed State House correspondents at the end of the 95th meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the committee will be headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said the Osinbajo committee put in place by Mr. Buhari is in addition to another one earlier set up by the NEC headed by the vice president which in turn had also set up another working committee on the same issue, headed by the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi.

"If you recall, the National Economic Council had set up a working group under Mr. Vice President to look into these problems of herdsmen/farmers clashes.

"The working group on its own also set up a subcommittee headed by the governor of Ebonyi State, who as we speak is working going round all the areas where these crisis are prevalent, consulting with the key stakeholders," he said.

He also said Mr. Osinbajo told NEC on Thursday that " Mr. President has approved for the setting up of a committee to be headed by the vice president again that will go into these areas, where these clashes have taken place with a view to looking at ways to ameliorate the suffering of the people of those areas and to resettle them," he said.

He said Mr. Osinbajo had earlier presented an interim report of the working committee to the NEC, which has as members all the 36 state governors and some ministers.

He said the interim report made some recommendations to the government on how to stop the clashes.

"They have recommended to Mr. President that in all areas where these clashes are prevalent, the military should be moved in to buttress whatever the Nigerian Police and other security agencies are doing in forestalling the problems.

"The committee has recommended strongly that the military should move into all forests or areas where the clashes are prevalent with the view to flashing out all bandits hiding in those areas.

"The committee has also recommended the setting up and training of Afro-Rangers. You know there has been talks of setting up ranches, colonies, a livestock production centre etc. The issue is actually a problem of nomenclature, the most important thing is that some measures should be taken in attempting to settle down the herdsmen so that they will stop moving with their herds from one section of the country to the other in the process creating all the problems we are experiencing," he said.

Mr. Abubakar also said governors have been asked to work with the federal government and decide which of the measures being proposed best suit them.

" So, whichever one a state government that is keying into the programme chooses, either a grazing reserve or ranch, or a livestock production center, there is a need for rangers to be trained. Rangers that will police either ranches or the grazing reserves," he said.

He also said the working group had made it clear that under the provision of the Land Use Act, it is the governors that superintend over land in their states.

"Therefore, the federal government of Nigeria is in no position and in fact the federal government will not impose on any state any type of solution, be it ranching, grazing reserves or whatever. The responsibility is that of the governor because they are the ones who by law are superintending over land matters," he said.


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