By Wisdom Deji-Folutile
President Muhammadu Buhari has openly stated his support for the idea of open grazing, calling for the reinstatement of grazing routes for herdsmen to move their cattle to several parts of the country.
The President said he had asked the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
Buhari said this during an interview with Arise TV on Thursday.
Recall that on May 12, the 17 Southern governors agreed to ban open grazing amid the unrelenting cases of farmer-herder clashes in the region.
The AGF had kicked against the declaration by the governors, instead suggesting a reinstatement of grazing routes.
When asked if he agreed with the AGF’s position, Buhari responded, “You want me to contradict my Attorney-General? What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the 1st Republic when people were obeying laws.
“There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) are moving upcountry, 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. 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.
“But I am telling you, this rushing to the centre (sic) 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.”