Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the grazing bill before the National Assembly was uncalled for and said it is like “trying to kill a fly with sledge hammer.”
Obasanjo also absloved President Muhammadu Buhari from alleged killings by Fulani herdsmen in parts of the country, especially in the North Central and the south.
Delivering a keynote address at the 23rd Annual Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Development Forum, organised in Abuja, Obasanjo said ranching and control of herders is a local issue and the responsibility of states and local governments as it is not within the responsibility of the Federal Government.
“Herdsmen are entitled to look after their cattle but they are not entitled to destroy the crops of farmers…When you are talking about Fulani people, people want the president to talk because he is a Fulani man.
“Some even said he is not talking because he used to be a patron of the Miyetti Allah cattle breeders association.
“But, this is not a federal issue. The issue is there for the states and local governments to solve. “The National Assembly can not make a law saying cattle should come to my village that is not a traditional pastoralist area. It is not possible because we do not see cattle unless when a big man dies,” he stated.
The former president further added that there are designated grazing reserves and routes maintained by the local authorities right from the colonial era and expressed shocks that herdsmen were lately being linked to criminal activities, including abduction.
He also said there was need to ascertain what went wrong and urged states and local governments to addressing the menace instead of waiting for the Federal Government.
Obasanjo also decried statements credited to some national leaders on the issue, particularly state governors.
He described the comments as “worrisome.”
Daily Sun gathered that the Federal Government has commenced the process of reviving about 22 grazing reserves across the country with 14 states providing 5, 000 hectares of land; each amounting to 70,000 hectares for development as grazing reserves.
A new United Kingdom-Department for International Development (DFID) funded research by the global humanitarian organisation; Mercy Corps said Nigeria loses about $14m (N4 billion) to disputes between farmers and pastoralists in the middle belt states of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau and in the North west state of Kaduna.
Skirmishes between famers and pastoralists typically arise from disputes over the use of resources such as farmland, grazing areas and water.