President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of trying to ‘collect’ land for Fulani herdsmen following his plan to establish farm estates in the country.
The Afenifere group, a pan-Yoruba socio-political organization made the allegation following the directive by the president on the establishment of farm estates in the 108 senatorial districts in Nigeria.
The group said the move looks suspicious.
Afenifere alleged that the plan looks like a deceptive move to acquire land for the herdsmen in other parts of the country.
Recall that the President Buhari had instructed the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to fashion out modalities for the setting up of farm estates in each of the 108 senatorial districts in the country.
But Afenifere in a statement on Wednesday through its Secretary-General, Mr Sola Ebiseni, questioned the directive, observing that it looks like a ‘Greek gift’ designed to take ancestral lands from the states and pass ownership to Fulani herdsmen in the future for their own private business.
The group further called attention to the fact that Nigeria’s constitution through the Land Use Act does not place control of lands in the hands of the federal government.
Rather than pursue a policy that has been rejected by many people, the pan-Yoruba group urged the federal government to focus on proferring practical solutions to the insecurity raging in the country rather than attempting to force the interest of a section on the entire citizens of Nigeria.
Afenifere called on the federal government to mobilize and deal with the bandits, terrorists and kidnappers killing people and destroying property all over the country.
The statement reads: “Nigerians are in no way deceived that the urgency purportedly attached to the programme by President Buhari is of equal proportional zeal with the creation of settled villages for Fulani herdsmen, from everywhere and nowhere, on the ancestral lands of other nationalities, which in the fullness of time will become colonies of tyranny as they are in Southern Kaduna, on the Plateau and many other parts of the Middle Belt.
“The cry across the land is that our President should rise to his primary responsibility of ensuring security of life and property, especially for the farmers, that they may feed the nation. If we may ask, will the Federal Government also build military barracks stronger than the Nigerian Defence Academy in those farm estates?
“President Buhari needs also be reminded that none of his predecessors, who showed greater interests in agriculture, was this covetous of land and seeking to work over and above the federating states; not even the military government of Obasanjo in its Operation Feed the Nation, nor Shehu Shagari’s Green Revolution.
“Rather than seeking land by force, which it has no powers over by the constitution and the Land Use Act, and imposing the type of agricultural practices on the states, let the Federal Government provide resources and incentives to the states in their areas of comparative advantage. Thus, in their choice of agricultural endeavours, the Niger Delta states may choose aquaculture, while the North-West sticks to animal husbandry. The President has not denied that his government has disbursed more than N6bn to his Katsina home state for ranching without breathing over them for specific land.
“Apart from the Federal Government having no powers over land, it cannot also compel the states to acquire the ancestral land of other people for the personal use of others. Constitutionally though, agriculture is under the concurrent legislative list; the powers of the Federal Government thereon under item ‘H’ of the Constitution, paragraphs 17-20, are limited and not extended to any activities giving it powers over land in view of the Land Use Act, which has equal constitutional status.”
“For the states in the South-West, including Edo and Delta, this government has nothing to teach us in farm estates. Let Buhari chase the killer terrorists from our land that the people may prosper. We are sceptical of these Greek gifts.”