MasterwebNews 29/4/16 – Intersociety Writes Senate President and House Speaker On Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria
MasterwebNews 29/4/16 - Intersociety Writes Senate President & House Speaker On Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety Writes Senate President & House Speaker ] - Below is a copy of Intersociety’s letter to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki - Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Adamu Dogara - Speaker of House of Representative titled "Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria By Way Of An Act For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserves (Establishment & Development) Commission: Dangers, Consequences & Solutions".
(1)The Senate President (Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki)
Office of the Senate President, Red Chambers
The National Assembly Complex, Three-Arms-Zone
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
(2) The Speaker of House of Reps (Hon Yakubu Adamu Dogara)
Office of the House Speaker, Green Chambers
The National Assembly Complex, Three-Arms-Zone
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria By Way Of An Act For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserves (Establishment & Development) Commission: Dangers, Consequences & Solutions
(Onitsha Nigeria, 26th of April 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety); supported by the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), comprising: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC), Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY), Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group) and Intersociety, have resolved, as a matter of urgency and national importance, to write your two important legislative offices concerning the subject matter captioned and underlined above. This letter of ours also becomes necessary in view of the forthcoming public hearing at the House of Reps concerning the controversial Bill under reference.
As your two important legislative offices are aware, two Bills concerning the above subject matter, originally drawn from “the National Grazing Reserve (Establishment & Development) Bill 2008”, introduced and sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure of Niger South Senatorial District of Niger State during the 6th National Assembly; are presently before the House of Reps. The two Bills are aimed at creating grazing reserves, ranches and cattle reserves across the 36 states to be funded with public funds through the establishment of a National Grazing Reserve Commission, an agency to be placed under the direct control of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the national patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a cattle rearing and trading association with membership in the civil service, retired and serving top security personnel, politics and other nomadic Fulani investors of sedentary backgrounds within and outside Nigeria (including Chad and Niger Republics); who are ethnographically referred to as “sedentary Fulanis”.
One of the two grazing reserve Bills under reference was published in the official National Assembly Gazette of February 1, 2016 and the other was published in the March 16, 2016 edition of the National Assembly Journal. The two Bills contain details of the proposed law. The first Bill with number HB.16.02.388 is titled: “A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Grazing Route and Reserve Commission, to establish and control Grazing Routes and Reserves in all parts of Nigeria and other incidental matters thereto…” It is sponsored by Honourable Sunday Karimi from Kogi State while the second Bill, published on March 16, 2016 and titled: “A Bill for an Act to Establish Grazing Reserve in each State of the Federation of Nigeria to improve Agriculture yield from livestock farming and curb incessant conflicts between Cattle farmers and crop farmers in Nigeria and for Related Matters,” is marked HB.16.03.448 and sponsored by Hon Sadiq Ibrahim of Fafure/Song Federal Constituency in Adamawa State. The Bill is contained in pages 931 to 941 of the National Assembly Journal, Volume 13. The two Bills are being consolidated, having passed the Second Reading at the House of Reps (source: Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, April 20, 2016). The two Bills are mostly a replication or repetition of the first National Grazing Reserve Commission Bill of 2008, sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure. The following link contains the original National Grazing Reserve Bill of 2008 under reference: http://nass.gov.ng/document/download/147.
As your two important legislative offices are further aware, for a Bill to be passed as a law, legislatively, before presidential assent, it must have originated from either of the two chambers of the National Assembly where most of its passage works are done, after which, there will be a concurrent passage of same by the other chamber; requiring lesser legislative work. This means that irrespective of the particular chamber where the Bill under reference is presently located or rooted, the two chambers (Senate and House of Reps) must pass or reject it concurrently at the end of the day. That is to say that the controversial Bill is presently before the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the watch of your two legislative offices.
We are saddened and dismayed over the referenced subject matter and local, national and international controversies so generated. It is further alarming and shocking that at this age of Nigeria’s statehood, its legislative, judicial and executive actors still rigmarole in absurdities, primordialism and clannishness by giving attention to issues that add no meaningful values to the country’s growth and development; other than those constituting and entrenching deepened structural violence, ethno-religious divisions, politico-economic exclusion, national backwardness, mass poverty, collective and individual security threats and other man-factored unsafe conditions. In the words of late Dr. Julius Nyerere; “Nigeria has chronically chosen to be moving steadily back to the cave, when its counterparts and peers of 60s and 70s are busy finding their ways into the orbit or moon”.
Today, as shameless as Nigerian political actors are and as intellectually and socially stunted as they are, they spend the country’s lean resources going to countries like China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates either to beg for loans or to look for elusive foreign investments when their country is on fire and made risky and investment unfriendly. These actors also go in search of elusive investments and modern enslavement in the hands of some rich countries across borders. Yet back home, they plant seeds of discord and run oppressive policies and governance actions, making it perpetually impossible for the country and its teeming population to grow and develop.
What they call “budgets” has conceptually and practically nothing to do with public budgets of comparative reality, but a mere aggregation of “public office squandering sheets” by public office holders and their subordinates; for the purpose of legislative codification and stamping and at the expense of direly needed capital growth and development of the country. A public budget is budget when it is developmentally ambitious in multi-sectored directions and least borrowing oriented; with capital expenditures doubling, if not tripling recurrent or personnel and overheads costs.Till date, Nigerian “budgets” are not only irreversibly and chronically negative with potentials of not taking the country to anywhere in the next fifty years, not to talk of paring the country with the likes of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong (ASEAN), Brazil and members of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (i.e. Qatar, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran). In 60s and 70s, Nigeria’s GDP and GNP were at par with these countries and even far above those of some of them.
We had expected the 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two important offices; to sponsor and lay before the two chambers such bills that have capacities to radically move the country and its people away from the present socio-economic, cultural(i.e. religious and ethnicity) and political doldrums and negativities. One of such important bills in our mind is a bill for diversification and decentralization of the country’s ailing power or electricity industry. For instance, the major challenge facing Nigeria’s power sector is over reliance on hydrogen and gas as its core sources of electricity and their over centralization with a myriad of bureaucratic and graft bottlenecks.
As your two important legislative offices are aware, there are (globally) hydro-powered electricity, wind-powered electricity, solar-powered electricity, biomass-powered electricity, nuclear-powered electricity, coal-powered electricity and gas-powered electricity, among other sources. As a lasting solution to the country’s age-long power epilepsy, coal mineral found in industrial quantity in the Southeast, if reactivated and mechanized; has the capacity of effectively powering the Southeast Region. In the South-South Region, gas energy, if properly harnessed and funded (PPP); can effectively power the Region electrically. Solar and wind derived energy can take care of the Southwest, if properly developed via PPP. In the North and its three sub regions, hydro source or water dams can be industrially deployed through the expansion of existing dams and creation of new ones. Gaddafi’s Libya, for instance, is still noted internationally for constructing “the 8th Wonder of the World” (digging of industrial and artificial river or dam from deserts) for the purpose of addressing the age-long “water wars” with its neighbors (i.e. Egypt, Chad and Sudan). The development and passage of this type of public interest bill will be accompanied with attraction of core and external investors under PPP arrangements.
Another area that requires such public interest bill is intra and inter-communal and religious violence and victimization in Nigeria. There is urgent need to create “intra and inter communal and religious crimes or offenses and victims commission”; with designation of criminal court sections within the country’s existing judicial system to prosecute the offenders and award compensations to the victims. Other areas of extreme public and legislative importance are the age-long geo-political imbalance (i.e. State & LGA lopsidedness per geopolitical zone), geo-legislative imbalance, non-justiciablity of chapter two of the Constitution, threats to the secularity of Nigeria, criminal justice and crime victim welfare reforms, non domestication of numerous international rights and humanitarian treaties ratified by Nigeria, etc.
Rather than dwelling and dissipating energies, with tax payers’ wealth of Nigerians over genocide friendly and useless efforts like Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry Nationalization Bill (2016), the 8th National Assembly of Nigeria should concern itself with such critical areas that have made it very difficult for Nigeria to develop and grow with capacities to compete with its peers of 60s and 70s. The 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two offices should investigate why the country’s unharnessed 33 solid mineral deposits in industrial quantities cannot be developed and mechanized.
Your two important offices should also tell Nigerians via your requisite legislative competence and capacities whether the 33 solid minerals under reference still belong to Nigerians or whether they have been couriered and cornered privately through illicit and subsistent mining and trading. What about the country’s mental or creative wealth? Have they been effectively developed and harnessed? What about cross-fertilization of scientific and technological resources with other rising economies like “Asian & Gulf Tigers” (i.e. trading what Nigeria knows and creates best to get what it lacks most)? It is a truism that Nigeria and Nigerians suffer till date on account of short-sightedness, crude individualism and intellectually daftness of its political, judicial and legislative actors. Most, if not all the country’s woes till date, are man-made; chiefly from its public office holders.
Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry Nationalization Bill: “Why is it that when the North American and European (and Asian) leaders are busy finding their countries’ ways into the moon; African leaders are busy taking their peoples back to the cave?” (Late Dr. Julius Nyerere:1994). A lot has been said and written concerning the bill above. We hold that the bill is not only controversial but also highly divisive, primordial, incoherent, unconstitutional, un-secular, ethno-religiously blood-soaking, structurally violent and unquenchably genocidal if passed and enforced as a law in Nigeria.
Originally and legislatively referred to as “An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserve (Establishment & Development) Commission For The Preservation & Control Of National Grazing Reserves & Stock Routes& Other Matters Connected Therewith 2008 (now 2016)”; the bill expressly provides for nationalization or State funding, control, preservation and protection of the Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria; a purely private affair run by a group of individuals known as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a cattle rearing and trading association with membership in the civil service, retired and serving top security personnel, politics and other nomadic Fulani investors of sedentary backgrounds within and outside Nigeria (including Chad and Niger Republics); who are ethnographically referred to as “sedentary Fulanis”.
Those recruited and employed as their cattle herders are called “pastoral Fulanis”; drawn from the Fulani and Hausa poorest/lowest/youth class. The activities of the latter and their well trained and armed military wing; fully backed by the former with their government links; have undermined and continue to undermine the national security and corporate existence and well-being of Nigeria, leading to massacre of at least 1000-2000 innocent lives every year. The latest of such butcheries by the Fulani Janjaweed was the killing of at least 40 defenseless natives of Ukpabi-Nimbo Community in Uzo Uwani LGA of Enugu State in the early hours of Monday, 25th of April 2016 (Sources: This Day & Vanguard Newspapers, 26th of April 2016). Over sixty others sustained various degrees of injury and more communities in the State including Umuchigbo are currently under the siege of the Fulani Janjaweed. In all these, the reactions of the country’s security chiefs including the Inspector General of Police and local army and police chiefs have remained complicit and omission to act. They deliberately refuse to act to stop or de-escalate the massacre, but embark on “casualty and property destruction assessment” tours or visits, well after the butchers have struck and concluded their murderous missions.
According to Comrade James Pam; a leading critic of the Bill, “the Bill has successfully scaled through the second reading in the House of Representatives and all that is left in the legislative process to make it a law is the Third Reading, that is, a clause by clause debate, voting (concurrent passage by the Senate) and then assent by the President. The Bill deserves very close scrutiny by all Nigerians and the international community should also be interested in this Bill because of the magnitude of the internal crises that the Bill could create with attendant spill-over effects if passed.
As explained below, the proposed piece of legislation is full of unconstitutionalities, ethnic discriminations, fundamental human rights violations, religious tenets violations, conspicuous criminal omissions and unforgiveable legislative indiscretions. The Bill should therefore be killed immediately and not presented for the last reading” (Comrade James Pam: April 2016; an activist for the protection of the ethnic minorities of the Jos Plateau. He also runs a blog called Jos Plateau Affairs).
According to Comrade James Pam in his well researched piece on the foregoing, the Bill is a proxy bill (executive engineered) originally introduced or sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure from Niger South Senatorial District of Niger State, who had earlier in 2008 during the 6th National Assembly introduced or sponsored the same Bill. Senator Zainab Kure is the current Senate Committee Chairman on Marine Transport. Following the emergence of Gen Muhammadu Buhari (a core partaker in the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria), as sixth elected President of Nigeria in late May 2015; the Bill was dusted up and resurrected in the House of Reps reportedly by the Presidency using the duo of Hon Sunday Karimi and Hon Sadiq Ibrahim representing their federal constituencies in Kogi and Adamawa States respectively.
The Comrade James Pam’s informed piece further noted that the Bill’s concluding Explanatory Memorandum says that the Bill seeks to provide for, among other things, the establishment of the National Grazing Reserves Commission of Nigeria, for the preservation and control of national grazing reserves and stock routes in the country. He highlighted the Bill’s key provisions and high points to include the following:
1. To establish a National Grazing Reserve Commission (NGRC), a body corporate.
2. The NGRC may acquire, hold, lease or dispose of any property, moveable or immoveable for the purpose of carrying out its function.
3. The NGRC shall have a governing Council headed by a Chairman appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate with members representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Resources, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, the National Commission for Nomadic Education and shall also have a Director General.
4. To raise monies by way of grants, loans, borrowing, subsidies and donations.
5. The following lands may be subject to the provisions of the Act to be constituted as National Grazing Reserves and Stock Routes:
(a) Lands at the disposal of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
(b) Any lands in respect of which it appears to the Commission that grazing in such land should be practiced.
(c) Any land acquired by the Commission through purchase, assignment, gift or otherwise howsoever.
- State Governments shall be given notice first before land acquisition and gazetting.
- The Commission shall pay compensation to persons affected by any land acquisition.
- There shall be no improvements, encroachment, bush burning, hunting, use of chemicals and felling of trees by anyone inside lands acquired and demarcated as National Grazing Reserves or Stock Routes.
- Contravention of any of the provisions in (8) above shall be punishable by a fine of N50,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.
- No Court of law shall carry out execution of its judgment or attachment of court process issued against the Commission in any action or suit without obtaining the prior consent of the Attorney General of the Federation.
- For the time being, the Commission shall report to the Honorable Minster for Agriculture and Water Resources.
- Native communities referred to in the Bill shall be any group of persons occupying any lands in accordance with, and subject to native law and custom.
- Stock Routes shall mean tertiary or secondary or inter-state stock routes linking two or more States together or leading from grazing reserve to grazing reserve.
- When passed into law, the Act shall be cited as The National Grazing Reserve Commission (Establishment and Development) Bill 2016.
Apart from the above 14-point executive, judicial and legislative protective measures and incentives inherent in the Bill, it is further stated in the Bill that additional incentives and facilities such as functional Earth Dams, Water Points, Dairy Processing Centers, Schools, functional Barns and Livestock Service Centers, etc shall be provided in each of the acquired or possessed Grazing Reserves in Nigeria by the Federal Government through public funds, grants or borrowings. In other words, the Federal Government of Nigeria plans to fund these through the oil wealth of the South-south and the Southeast Nigeria, which constitute 90% of the country’s annual earnings as well as income, import, company, VAT and indirect taxes or non-oil earnings of the Federal Government, concentrated in the Southern Nigeria and a part of the North-central Nigeria. The proposed establishment of the National Grazing Commission is for the purpose of enforcing Grazing Reserve Laws for overall protection of the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria as well as perceived protection by State of the atrocities of the Fulani armed wing or Fulani Janjaweed.
Dangers & Consequences: The Bill is not only politically motivated and ill-conceived, but also ethno-religiously antagonistic and war drumming. It is mischievously cloaked in the layers of “animal husbandry”, but with Islamist conquest intents. Our in-depth research clearly shows that the Bill has no reason whatsoever to be introduced or sponsored at the first place. Firstly, Federal Government of Nigeria has no business doing with Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria, except regulating the conducts of its owners and herders and the business of animal husbandry itself to ensure that they do not undermine the country’s physical, personal, communal, health, food, environmental and economic security. Secondly, to forcefully deprive peoples, citizens and communities of their ancestral lands all in the name of “Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or Grazing Reserves”, is a total declaration of war by Federal Government against the people of Nigeria. Other social dangers and consequences include abduction and raping of married and unmarried women as well as under-age girls of the host communities by the Fulani Janjaweed and cattle herders; abduction and forceful conversion to Islam of defenseless citizens and vulnerable population; guest-host hostilities, hostile neighborhood relationships, frequent guest-host communal violence and incessancy of guest-rooted sundry criminalities (crimes against persons and properties).
Thirdly, by making the Bill a country-wide and compulsory affair, it clearly means that the Federal Government has been hijacked by some ethno-religious radicals and brigandage activists. We say this because out of the country’s 923,000 plus square kilometers of landmass, 70% is located in the Northern part. Also Niger and Chad Republics where the Fulanis and their cattle herders dwell, too; each of the two countries has over one million square kilometers of landmass. Where, for instance, will highly urbanized Lagos with a small landmass of 4,211 square kilometers get acres of land to give out for the so called “National Nomadic Grazing Reserves”? Where will Anambra State with high level of urbanization and a small landmass of 4,611 square kilometers get acres of land for such useless national project; likewise Bayelsa and Ebonyi States?
Fourthly and most importantly, the Bill is totally lopsided and negative justice oriented. The issue of Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria cannot be addressed leaving out the age-long hostilities and violence directed at the rural farmers of Southern Nigeria and old Middle Belt; who have been at the receiving end of the age-long atrocities of the Fulani Cattle herders, their armed wing and sponsors. The farmers of Nigeria’s rain forests, who are mainly Christians, have been killed in their thousands by the Fulani Janjaweed in recent times with the Federal Government keeping sealed lips till date. If Federal Government plans to mechanize, protect, secure and preserve the Fulani Animal Husbandry in Nigeria, leaving behind the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests, made up of farmers of the South-south, Southwest, Southeast and the old Middle Belt of Nigeria, who are the victims of the age-long hostilities of the Fulani herders; then the Government is lending credence to one-way traffic justice, which is a recipe for genocide and unquenchable ethno-religious violence.
If the Fulani Animal Husbandry is being given Federal Government attention, for “mechanization”, “securitization”, “protection” and “preservation” purposes; then the same should simultaneously be extended to the Root Crops Farmers of Southern and old Middle Belt Nigeria. They need such incentives more than the Fulani herders. The root crops farmers of the rain forests are the traditional growers and harvesters of root crops like yam and its species, cocoyam and its species, cassava, banana, cashew, cocoa, palm nuts and oil, pears, maize, rubber, bread fruit, oil bean, udala fruits, mangoes, etc. Most of these root crops cannot traditionally be grown and harvested in the core north. Till date, they are still grown and harvested traditionally in the rain forests areas of Nigeria, with little or no government mechanized incentives to grow and harvest them in commercial or industrial quantities.
By the way, why has the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry remained subsistent, unscientific, un-industrialized and un-mechanized warranting their use, till date, of crude pasturing and grazing methods with their attendant unsolicited antagonism and violence against their host communities? Why must Federal Government lend extended support to such crude and hostile pasturing and grazing methods by way of seeking for the expansion and codification of National Grazing Reserves across the country? Why won’t Federal Government hands off and restrict the Fulani Animal Husbandry to the North where large expanse of lands abounds? Why should the Fulani Animal Husbandry not be handled privately or regionally by the governors of core northern States, who may provide it with scientific, technological and mechanized incentives such as Earth Dams, Water Points, Dairy Processing Centers, Schools, functional Barns, Livestock Service Centers, electricity, etc? Why making it a mandatory country-wide affair with tax payers funds of all Nigerians and southern oil wealth?
Solutions: We are of the firm view that two key solutions abound in resolving the controversies and national security threats associated with the Bill under discussion. In addition to the solutions under recommendation, the introducers of the controversial Bill and its variants: Senator Zainab Kure, Hon Sunday Karimi and Hon Sadiq Ibrahim should be suspended from the Senate and House of Reps for introducing a Bill with capacity not only to undermine national security, but also to plunge the entire country into anarchy, chaos and widespread bloodshed. As matter of fact, they should be recalled by their constituents and constituencies. In our main solutions under recommendation, there are two-justice solutions: negative justice solution and positive justice solution. While the former is zero-sum oriented, the latter is win-win or problem solving oriented. We preferentially recommend the latter (positive justice solution).
Negative Justice Solution: It is a truism that passing into law the Nationalization of Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or National Grazing Reserves Commission Bill, leaving behind the Root Crops Farmers of the Nigerian Rain Forests, who are victims of age-long hostilities and violence of the Fulani herders; is not only unacceptable and a recipe for anarchy; but also a fundamental injustice and gross affront to the sacred doctrine of audi altarem partem (always hear the other side). It is therefore our recommendation that there shall be introduced immediately and concurrently too; under the prompt legislative directive of your two offices, of a fresh Bill for “An Act to Establish the National Root Crops Farming Reserves & Protection Commission 2016”, with replication of all the features contained in the National Grazing Reserve (Establishment& Development) Commission for the Preservation & Control of National Grazing Reserves & Stock Routes & Other Matters Connected Therewith 2016 including making the Bill under recommendation a country-wide affair with provision of all the incentives contained in the Grazing Reserve Bill including mechanized agro technologies, security and protection. The two Bills must be passed concurrently or be rejected concurrently.
Alternatively, the present National Grazing Reserve Bill can be expanded for the purpose of integrating or incorporating the Root Crops Farming Reserve and Protection segment. This may be cited as “the National Cattle Grazing & Root Crops Farming Reserves Commission Bill 2016”; a sort of two-in-one Bill; providing for 50-50 Federal Government nationalization and provision of industrial or mechanized incentives, legal and executive frameworks for the Fulani Cattle herders and the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests concurrently. For instance, if Federal Government possesses or acquires two acres of land for National Grazing Reserve in Zamfara State, two acres of land will concurrently and at the same time be possessed or acquired for the National Root Crops Farming Reserve. Such must be applied uniformly in all the States in the South-south, Southeast, Southwest, North-central, Northeast and Northwest geopolitical regions of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); in other words, a quota system methodology. The same set of rules, industrial incentives, policies, public funding or budgetary allocations, permissible socio-cultural practices and security measures should be applied evenly to the two Farming and Grazing Reserves in all parts of the country; whether they are created by one or two set of Bills.
Also if Fulani Herders are allowed to carry arms “in self defense”, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must also be allowed to carry theirs “in self defense”. If the arms are for “offensive purposes” and the Federal Government allows and condones such on the part of the Fulani Cattle Herders and their armed wing; then the Federal Government does not have moral authority to block and query any retaliatory measures of the attacked party (i.e. root crops farmers) until it effectively curbs the atrocities of the former and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Socio-culturally speaking, if the Fulani Cattle Herders and Owners are allowed to build Mosques and install emirs or sarki in the National Grazing Reserves across the country, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must be allowed, too, to build churches or other places of worship and install their trado-religious heads. If Fulani Herders are empowered to vote or be voted for or allocated with demographic constituencies in their host communities where the Grazing Reserves are located, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must inexcusably be treated in a like manner and concurrently too. The recommendation above can best be described as “power balance solution” with its mutual deterrence effects. This informs the title of “negative justice solution”, given above.
Positive Justice Solution: On the other hand, it is our strong recommendation in the context of Positive Justice Solution that the Bill and its variants should be torn to shreds and trashed into the dustbin of your two legislative houses to be dusted or resurrected no more. The sponsors of the Bill should be severely punished as well. We further recommend for total and perpetual banning of the north to south movement of herds of Fulani Cattle and their herders; other than their trading. The exercise should also be totally restricted to core northern States, Niger and Chad Republics.
It is about time age-long crude methods of animal husbandry got upgraded and mechanized. The north to south crude grazing and pasturing movements should be banned and prohibited particularly in the Southern parts and the old Middle Belt. The Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry must go scientific and embrace modern “sedentary and industrial” grazing and pasturing methods. Members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria should also introduce far reaching innovations into their animal grazing and trading by expanding the business to attract core investors with industrial capital capacities to industrialize the venture. They can also partner with the governments of the core northern States and investment moguls like Dangote, Dantata, etc.
Rather than seeking to create a law of “national bloodshed and dismemberment of Nigeria through butcheries and anarchy”, the 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two important offices should channel their efforts at strengthening legislatively the existing criminal justice laws for the purpose of curbing the rising cases of the hostilities and atrocities of the Fulani Janjaweed, hiding under the pretext of cattle rearing to perpetuate and perpetrate crimes against humanity against thousands of unarmed and innocent citizens of Nigeria particularly the rural Christian farmers of the Rain Forests Region. To be addressed legislatively, too, is high incidence of intra and inter communal and religious violence as well as ceaseless political killings and assassinations in Nigeria.
It is our hope that this controversial issue of Grazing Reserve Bill will be dealt a decisive blow by your two important offices as a matter of extreme urgency, otherwise we shall be left with no other option than to agree with some popular social quarters within and outside Nigeria that “the Nationalization of the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or National Grazing Right and Route Reserve Bill of 2016”, is an Islamic conquest policy by other means”.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu
Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN
*Photo Caption - As seen