Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari yesterday denied the Federal Government has concluded plans to create cattle colony across the nation.
He said he has no powers to give lands for grazing reserves in states.
Buhari, who spoke at the South-South interactive meeting of Buhari Support Group in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, said the office of the President under the 1978 Land Use Act has no control of lands in states, except in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Represented by his Special Adviser in National Assembly Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, Buhari noted only state lawmakers can create reserve through legislation after assent by governors.
Enang said: “There is no law in Nigeria now before the President to sign to create grazing reserve because he does not have land to give.
“Therefore, the President does not, cannot and will not give land to any herdsmen for grazing reserve because he is not the governor of the state.”
He explained: “When Nigeria was one entity, there were cattle routes, which ran from Lake Chad Republic to the Atlantic Ocean.
“When she became three regions, there were cattle routes in each of the regions. When it became a state, each of the states made laws as to how to graze animals.
“When it became a problem in 1978 under Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State in March 28, the Land Use Act was made.
“Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has control of land in Abuja only. Under the Act, each state governor by sections 1(2) of the Act said that lands in each of the state of the federation in the covered area shall be vested in the governor of that state.”
He added: “Furthermore sub-section 1 (2) (b), said lands in the rural areas shall be vested in the Local Government Chairman of that local government.
“Then in section 6, the Act stated that it shall be within the competence of the Local Government Chairman to give land for agricultural purposes including grazing purposes and sub-section 51 defined grazing purposes to be the purposes of planting grasses for animals.
“Going by this, the President of Nigeria is not in any way planning to give land to Fulani herdsmen anywhere in Nigeria, because by the provision of the Land Use Act, the President controls no land in the country, except in Abuja.”
He assured the lingering East West road project would be completed before the end of the year to give way for kick off of the other phases of the project. (TheNation)