Buhari approves revisiting herdsmen grazing rights on 368 routes
Following persistent crises with indigenous farmers over grazing rights, Nigerian government has approved to conduct a review into animal grazing rights.
There have been cases of herdsmen attack on farmers, cattle rustling and farmers who complain about livestock destroying their crops.
The review will examine grazing sites in 25 states.
A statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the review will determine the level of encroachment on the grazing sites.
He explained that the number of the grazing reserves and states were reached at after considering security concerns and other socio-economic conditions.
Previous government proposals were criticised for favouring the herders, who are mainly from President Buhari’s tribe.
Many southern Nigerian states have called for open grazing to be banned, arguing that cattle breeders should set up ranches for their animals.
Nigeria has 36 States excluding the Federal Capital Territory. Eleven states in the South-South and South-East Regions have kicked against open grazing in their states.
Shehu said this was in line with the recommendations of a committee earlier in the year to review “with dispatch,” 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment.”
A release by Shehu, stated that President Buhari’s directive followed his approval of the recommendations of a committee chaired by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
Among others, the committee had recommended the collection of field data on 368 Grazing Reserves across 25 states to assess encroachment and encroachers, stakeholder engagements and sensitization.
The Committee also recommended production of maps and geo-mapping/tagging of sites, analysis of findings and report preparations as well as design appropriate communication on Grazing Reserves and operations.
The number of the Grazing Reserves and States were deduced from considerations of existing security concerns and other pre-existing socio-economic conditions.
The President directed that the assignment be undertaken with dispatch to bring more understanding on the Grazing Reserves, and implementation.
Members of the Committee include, Governor of Kebbi State and Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of NEC Sub-Committee for National Livestock Transformation Plan, David Umahi; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono; Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar; and Deputy Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye.
The Technical Sub-Committee consisted of representatives from the seven members of the main committee in addition to representatives from Ministry of Justice, Surveyor General of the Federation, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) and National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA).
The Terms of Reference of the Committee, which held its inaugural meeting on May 10, 2021, include to collate from states and confirm the status of all Grazing Reserves, assess the percentage of available land and those with existing encroachment complications for case-by-case resolution in partnership with state governments and the FCT.
The Committee was also expected to make recommendations for gazetting of ungazetted Grazing Reserves and create a data base of National Cattle Herders and ensure that Grazing Reserves were well communicated to all stakeholders.