Senate spokesman, Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately begin a genuine process of resolving the farmers and herders crisis instead of resorting to grazing routes, which, according to him, were never recognised by any federal law.
He declared that as someone, who has sworn to uphold the constitution, the truth remained that “neither in the North nor in the South, is there a law creating grazing routes either as a state law or federal law.
“It is rather unfortunate that our President has been misadvised on this matter,” the lawmaker added. Basiru, who has, on several occasion, criticised the President’s comments on grazing routes, noted: “The Grazing Reserves Laws in some states created from the former Northern Region of Nigeria are deemed to be state laws by Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), having been adopted from the Grazing Reserve Law of Northern Region of Nigeria (NN Law of 1965).”
He stated: “CAP 3 Laws of Kwara State, CAP 56 Laws of Bauchi State and CAP 55 Laws of Kastina State. On the case of these laws, it was expressly stated that they are adopted from Northern Nigeria Laws of 1965. There is no provision for grazing routes as it is being claimed.”
The Osun Central representative continued: “There has never been a federal legislation on grazing reserves and/or grazing routes in Nigeria and Northern Region Laws are not applicable everywhere in Nigeria. In fact, by the present constitutional provisions, such law cannot be within the competence of the National Assembly.
“The Grazing Reserves Laws are only applicable and enforceable in those states created from the former Northern Region that chose to adopt same as part of their revised laws like Kwara, Bauchi and Katsina states. It appears that Jigawa State omitted the Grazing Reserves Law as part of its law in the more recent compilation of its laws.
He explained that “none of the extant laws made mention of grazing routes not to talk of making provisions thereof. It was only in Section 37(1)(a) of the law that the law mentioned ‘trade route’ in criminalising open grazing outside the grazing reserves areas.
However, what is ‘trade route’ was not defined in the law and there is no other reference to the term in the law.”
The lawmaker advised that “rather than making reference to laws that do not exist or not applicable, what is required and should be pursued by our government and my great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the way forward to address the issue of farmers and herdsmen crisis, is to adopt, promote and finance modern animal husbandry by way of ranches and modern grazing reserves.”