Adeshina’s ‘your-land-or-your-life’ comment is bad for Nigeria
Femi Adeshina, who is President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief spokesperson has confirmed Buhari’s position on the herdsmen-farmers crises. He has said that farmers must, as a matter of life and death, accept the controversial cattle ranching or else be killed off by the herdsmen. This Adeshina’s comment on a national TV is rather infuriating than placating. It leaves majority of Nigerians thinking if their government is capable of their protection.
One of the primary responsibilities of any government is the protection of lives and property of its citizens. Under the government, the citizens should be assured, even if it be faintly, that the government is capable of protecting them. Government should not allow the people to lose faith in is capacity, else, there will be fear and apprehension which can lead to the breakdown of law and order in the land.
Adeshina, who is President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief spokesperson has confirmed the fears of Nigerians that the government they elected might not be able to protect them in the phase of herdsmen-farmers crises. He advised land owners to allow their lands to be taken away from them instead of being killed by the herdsmen.
Adeshina said that “The National Economic Council that recommended ranching didn’t just legislate it, there were recommendations”, so, it is left for Nigerians to either accept it or die.
At the last count, in the last three years, according to a United Nations report, 20, 000 lives have been lost to herdsmen-farmers clashes in the Northern Nigeria where the vagrant herdsmen attempted to seize lands belonging to local farmers. This is unprecedented and the government has been urged to find a lasting solution to the clashes.
Speaking on an the TV morning programme in response to a question on ancestral attachments to land, he said: “Ancestral attachment? You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, how does the attachment matter?
Adeshina and the Federal Government forgets how important land is to Africans both in the rural and urban places. No land owner will be happy to allow a stranger to take over their land just like that.
The Government’s spokesman added: “Hundreds have been killed in Zamfara, are they Christians? People have been killed in Birnin Gwari, are they Christians? What is happening is criminality, pure and simple, and it must be brought to an end. Government has a big role to play in this but the people themselves have a role to play.
“Some people are saying don’t use government money to build ranches. If truly they don’t have lands, that is fine, but remember that Kogi State offered 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony and in the midst of that offer vicious attacks were unleashed.
“In Plateau State, where we had the recent orgy of killings, the government has offered land for ranches and I tell you that some people are interested in this thing not being resolved. “The National Economic Council that recommended ranching didn’t just legislate it, there were recommendations. So, if your state genuinely does not have land for ranching, it is understandable; not every state will have land for ranches. But where you have land and you can do something, please do for peace. What will the land be used for if those who own it are dead at the end of the day?”
One of the suggestions being pioneered by the Federal Government is the controversial cattle ranching. This means that states must allocate their lands for the herdsmen to occupy. This suggestion is controversial because most people see cattle ranching as a way of introducing the explosive herdsmen to all parts of the country.
It beats our imagination that Adeshina does not an encouraging word for Nigerian farmers other than asking them to forfeit their ancestral homes in order not to be killed by herdsmen.