Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State urges members of the National Assembly to be on guard and thwart any last-minute attempts to adopt a measure that would deny Nigerians access to their God-given lands in favor of pastoralists all over the nation.
Governor Ortom finds it puzzling that the Presidency has sent the grazing reserves bill to the National Assembly since 2016 under several titles and that, in spite of the public outrage, it is still hoping to pass the measure.
The country would have been safer for every Nigerian if the current administration had focused on addressing insecurity in the same way that they have fought for the adoption of a law governing cattle grazing areas.
The contentious measure to create a Grazing Management Agency, which was supposed to ensure the establishment of cattle grazing areas around the nation, was rejected by the Senate in November 2016.
The National Grazing Routes and Reserves law was a law that the federal government once more attempted to sway into passing in 2017. This bill was also rejected in response to the concern expressed by certain patriotic Nigerians.
The government then introduced the National Water Resources Bill, which had the sole purpose of giving the federal government sovereignty over all water sources (surface and subsurface) and river banks. This action drew a flood of criticism from Nigerians.
In order to establish pastoralist settlements in all of the federation’s states, the federal government launched the Ruga, Cattle Colonies, and other programs. Records show that Governor Samuel Ortom was the first to oppose the harsh bills.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the committee’s recommendations in August 2021 to “with dispatch, review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, and to determine the levels of encroachment.” Once more, the presidential approval was denied by Benue and other states, and the proposal gradually lost traction.
We are aware that those seeking to swiftly pass the bill, which they have called the National Grazing Reserves Council Bill, are determined to seize the ancestral lands of Nigerians and transfer them to pastoralists. The proposed bill has been in the National Assembly since it was reintroduced, and its backers have been looking for the ideal time to pass it after noticing the public’s sentiment and misgivings.
If approved by the National Assembly, the law will create a Council with the authority to seize land for grazing reserves in any region of the nation and compensate the landowner(s). Pastoralists whose animals will have free access to the usurped land would benefit from the land.
In addition to breaking both the Constitution and the Land Use Act, the National Grazing Reserves Council Bill also represents a fang of impunity, subjection, and a pervasive conquering agenda against Nigerians. The measure is an outright land grab that aims to turn Nigerians into slaves while advancing the narrow-minded and egotistical objectives of herders.
The future and unity of this country are in the hands of the National Assembly, Governor Ortom implores, so they must act as true representatives of the people for the sake of future generations. He exhorts the federal parliamentarians to continue steadfastly rejecting the bill and any other covert effort to jeer millions of innocent Nigerians who have suffered as a result of the occupation agenda.
It is important to note that the Governor’s stance on national matters is motivated by patriotism, not by any personal goal or advantage. He favors equity, justice, and fairness.
Follow us on Facebook