Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has urged the federal government to let the livestock policy be decided by the state governments.
He charged the federal government to desist from causing problems for states with the grazing reserves policy.
Falana,while speaking with newsmen on Saturday at the inaugural ceremony of the Old Seminarian Association of Nigeria (OSAN) in Abuja, said the government can not claim ownership of grazing routes without having one.
Falana noted that the existing grazing reserves and routes were owned by government of the old Northern Region.
“Take the question of animal husbandry, where herders— armed herders are killing people. This is a problem that can be solved scientifically. Today, the governors of Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina states have banned the interstate movement of cattle. Which is a ban on open grazing. The Kano State Government is investing massively in RUGA settlement.
“In July, President Buhari gave N6.2 billion to Katsina State government for ranching. So if you are giving money for ranching to Katsina state, why are you now looking for grazing routes in other states?
“In any case, the federal government never had a grazing reserve or grazing route. They were owned by the government of the old northern region. And we are talking of the 19 northern states now. So, what the federal government never had cannot be reclaimed.
“This problem should be left to the states because aside from the Federal Capital Territory, the land in every state is vested in the state governor on behalf of the people. So, the federal government should not continue to cause problems for our people.”
The lawyer said the northern governors and their counterparts in the south had already kicked against open grazing because ranching was the more acceptable method and it was also part of the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the federal government.
He added,” This is a country of wonderful opportunity. We have always been united in our diversity. Right now, our country is sharply divided. Christians against Muslims, one ethnic group against another, and these are all diversionary tactics by the ruling class to keep our people divided.
“The problem of this country is the same. Poverty is the same all over the place. Notwithstanding that the northern part of the country has produced more rulers, poverty in the north, particularly in the North-west is higher than in other regions, and this is why our people must be united. The oppressed must be united. The exploited must be united and we must examine those problems that are being used to divide our people.”