President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent approval of a recommendation to review 368 grazing reserves in 25 states and to determine the levels of encroachment are raising issues across Nigeria. Many are questioning the legality of the president’s position because the Land Use Act gives all pieces of land to the state governors.
Currently, there are 19 states in Northern Nigeria where the Fulani pastoralists are indigenous to. In the then Northern Region, the Northern Nigeria Legislative Assembly in 1965 enacted the only Grazing Reserve Law to provide legal grazing rights and land titles to pastoralists.
Therefore, experts wonder how the Buhari-led government arrived at the 25 states referred to in the recommendation, as the law was a regional one and not a national law.
Out of the 19 states in the North, Benue and Taraba already have the anti-open grazing law to address the farmer-herder crisis.
Similarly, the Southern governors had in April placed a ban on open grazing in the South as a result of the conflict and a plan to meet on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, for the promulgation of their anti-open grazing laws across the region.
So far, Bayelsa, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti and Abia states have complied with the Southern Governors’ decision on open-grazing. In Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Lagos states – the Houses of Assembly have passed relevant laws awaiting their governors’ assent.
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