Withdraw Your Comment On Anti-Grazing Law – Senate Tells Defence Minister

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday asked the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali to withdraw his statement which said, killings in Nigeria was as a result of anti-grazing laws by Benue and Taraba states.

The development followed a point of order by Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East), who faulted the Defence Minister and explained that killings in the country predated anti-grazing laws by those states.

Gemade said about 7 persons were again killed in Kwande local government in Benue North East senatorial district, stating that the state was under siege as killings occur daily.

He was saddened that the more the people of Benue state look up to government for protection, the more dismayed they become.

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, this matter is very critical and I need to bring it out.

“Seven people were killed in Kwande Local government area in my Senatorial district yesterday. We are under siege by armed men who kill and destroy farms and homes everyday.

“Very dismayed was that yesterday there was a security council meeting which was persided by President Muhammadu Buhari and at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali asked Buhari to stop anti-grazing laws in Benue and Taraba states. ”

He wondered that if the Minister could call for anarchy, where lies the defence of the people, adding that Buhari was being ill-advised by his appointees.

Contributing, Senator John Owan Enoh (Cross River Central) said there was no solution to killings in Nigeria, stressing that killings in Nigeria has nothing to do with anti-grazing laws.

He enjoined the Senate to rise above primordial interest in dealing with killings.

Emmanuel Bwacha also disclosed that 5 persons were killed on their way to farm in Takum Local government in Taraba state yesterday.

He urged the Senate to be united against killings in Nigeria.

Police Can’t Arrest Herdsmen For Grazing On Airport Runways –Commissioner

The Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, Mustapha Dandaura, has revealed that members of the Nigeria Police Force cannot arrest herdsmen who allow their cattle to stray onto and graze on airport runways in the country.

Dandaura claimed that such arrest could only be made in states where the anti-open grazing law was effective.

In a recent media interview following the disruption of Akure airport operations by cows last weekend, he said, “It’s only in states where the anti-open grazing law is in place that herdsmen can be arrested for allowing their cattle to graze on airport runways. Apart from those states, we have not been told to start arresting herdsmen.

“But we have already alerted our men at the airports to ensure such incident does not occur again. The state police commands have also been carried along and everyone is on the alert.

“We can’t have a situation whereby cows would be straying onto and grazing on airport runways because it is embarrassing. Everyone is now on the alert and it’s going to be prevented.”

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria apologised Air Peace which was affected by the incident in Akure last week. The head of aviation security at the airport was also suspended.

No Plans To Enact Anti-Grazing Law In Osun – Commissioner

By Nofisat Marindoti
Commissioner for Special Duties in the State of Osun, Hon. Mudashiru Toogun has revealed that there are no plans to enact Anti-grazing law in the State, adding that the adopted traditional ways of settling disputes between farmers and herdsmen have been effective and potent.
He added that such law could be counter-productive with the present atmosphere across the state.
Toogun, who doubles as the Chairman of the Committee on Peaceful Co-existence between Fulani /Bororo and Crop Farmers in Osun disclosed this during a press conference at the Osun NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel in Osogbo.
The Commissioner also stated that the state would soon commence enumeration of cattle to identify strayed cows and their owners for necessary action.
He explained that the process of enumeration would be done by tagging cows with distinct number that suggests traceable owners.
According to him, this is a furtherance of an adopted conflict resolution mechanism in the state with regards to farmers / herders’s co-existence.
Toogun noted that the Aregbesola led administration has been able to maintain relative peace amongst farmers and herdsmen with conscious integration of the Fulani settlers into the society by making provision for necessary and basic needs of the herders.
“In the course of looking for ways in which the relative peace we enjoyed between farmers and herdsmen could be sustained, we discovered important needs of the herders, which include: Water and education.
“The government had sunk over 13 boreholes in various Fulani communities and befitting schools for their children for qualitative education.
“In addition to that, we are embarking on enumeration of cattle in the state for the purpose of linking strayed cows with their owners,  which will make amicable settlement of issues of invasion of farms easier and proactive”, he said..
On the idea of State Police,  Toogun stressed that state policing remains lasting solution to the menace of incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.
” In a situation where arrested herdsmen were set free by the police,  citing “orders” from the above for such an action is dangerous and capable of frustrating any move to sustain peaceful co-existence.
“I believe Nigeria needs police institution that understands it’s terrain of operation better and operate in accordance with the norm of its environment.
“For me, State Police is the way to go if we are really serious about resolving this National challenge before it gets out of control.”he added

Obaseki Bans Night-Grazing, Armed Herdsmen In Edo

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has banned night grazing and armed herdsmen in the state just as he set up a seven-man committee in each of the 18 local government areas to check herdsmen, farmers’ clashes.

The seven-man committee will include the chairmen or heads of the LGAs, the Divisional Police Officers, representatives of the Department of State Services and four representatives from the communities in the state.

Obaseki, who presided over a stakeholders’ meeting with the Seriki Hausa/Fulani leaders from the 18 LGAs in the state, on Thursday, charged the committee to “review all cases of herdsmen/farmers’ clashes in all the local government areas.”

The governor said, “A special team made up of the police, army, civil defence corps and other security agencies in the state will carry out random patrols and search operations. Any herdsman found in possession of firearms will be arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms as cattle rearers do not need an AK47 to herd cattle.

“We will not accept anyone with firearms and anyone found with arms will face the law. We need information to succeed in this fight and information is vital to the police and other security agencies. We assure you of your safety.

“We have placed a ban on night herding; nobody should herd their cattle at night. We have also placed a ban on hunting activities by people from other states in the name of hunting.”

Obaseki added that another committee that he would head would have the state Commissioner of Police, the Director of the DSS in the state, the Commander of 4 Brigade and representatives of the communities across the three senatorial districts in the state as members.

He noted, “Every three months we will meet with the representatives of the local government committees to review and examine the progress being made in resolving the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes in the state.”

The Chairman, Edo State Hausa Community, Alhaji Badamasi Saleh, advised that a mechanism should be put in place to protect informants as most members of the communities “find it difficult to volunteer information to the security agencies as they fear that their identities would not be protected.”

Alhaji Usman Abdullahi, representing the Hausa/Fulani community in Edo Central Senatorial District, pledged that his people would cooperate with the state government and work with the security agencies in the state to fish out criminals among his people.

I Forgive Lalong For Comments On Grazing Law – Ortom

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has reacted to the comments made by his Plateau State counterpart, Mr Simon Lalong, about the prohibition of open grazing in Benue.

Since the law was implemented, there have been series of attacks by suspected herdsmen on some Benue communities, with dozens of people killed in the recent attacks on Logo and Guma local government areas of the state.

Addressing a delegation of the Arewa Consultative Forum on Friday at his office in Makurdi, the Benue governor said he was pained by the comments and consequently called Lalong who denied making such statement.

“Somebody drew my attention yesterday (Thursday) that he (Lalong) made such comments that he warned me not to implement the law and I was wondering if my colleague from Plateau State could say that; so I called him and he told me he did not say it,” said Ortom.

“But later, when I watched it on Channels Television, he castigated me beyond what I thought a colleague of mine should (but) I’ve forgiven him.”

Shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, Governor Lalong told State House correspondents in Abuja that he had warned his Benue counterpart to adopt ranching and not prohibiting open grazing as the solution to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

He had said, “I told the Governor of Benue when he was doing the law, I told him ‘why don’t you do (ranches)? Be careful, take the other steps before you start implementation; states are different.”

Benue Killings: Miyetti Allah Leadership ‘Cannot Go Scot Free’ – Ortom

in his reaction, Ortom maintained that although he had a discussion with Lalong, he never received any warning from him.

He, however, explained that even if he was warned as claimed, the decision to implement the law was taken by the people of Benue who he said he had consulted.

“At no time did my colleague warned me about this law but even if he had warned me, it was beyond me,” Governor Ortom said. “It originated from the people themselves and even if he had warned me, I would have told him it is beyond me.”

“It’s about Benue State and I’m not talking about Plateau State; that is what the Benue people want. Is there one person in Benue that is against this law? he asked the regional sociocultural group who responded “no”.

The Benue governor further recalled that instead, it was his colleague who informed him during a private visit that he was also under pressure to implement the anti-grazing law in his state.

He said he later called Lalong after he confirmed that the governor actually told reporters he had warned him but his effort to reach the Plateau governor was futile.

He said: “When I saw this on television yesterday, I tried to get back to him (but) he did not pick my call.

“I wanted to remind him, when I finally confirmed that he said it, that the last time I went to Jos for a thanksgiving service in one of the churches, on my way back I felt like paying homage to him and I did and he told me that he’s under pressure to also enact that law that he’s going to do it.”

“He told me himself; so coming back to say that, I don’t understand but all the same, let us leave all these things behind us – if we leaders begin to disagree amongst ourselves, then there is no sign of a solution to these problems,” Ortom added.