THE Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has knocked President Muhammadu Buhari on his plan to resuscitate about 368 grazing reserves in twenty-five states.
HURIWA, in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director Zainab Yusuf on Friday, warned that President Buhari, by his decision despite stiff opposition to the idea across the country, was calling for another brutal civil war.
The group wondered how President Buhari is bent on coercing native peoples to surrender their ancestral lands to Fulani herdsmen-his kinsmen.
The rights group accused the President of favouring his kinsmen since 2015 when he assumed office and failing to arrest and prosecute suspected armed Fulani herders who have allegedly killed over 6,000 Nigerians since 2015.
“This is the first time in over 60 years of Nigeria’s independence that Nigeria is foisted with a fatalistic administration whose head of executive arm is doing everything outside of the law to arm-twist other ethnicities just so the president’s kinsmen are awarded the ancestral lands for their private commercial business of grazing cattle,” HURIWA noted.
Therefore, the rights group asked Buhari to desist from taking steps and doing things that will plunge Nigeria into a long drawn civil war.
HURIWA further accused Buhari of breaching his Constitutional oath of office, which prohibits him from using his office to confer an unlawful advantage on his people due to pedestrian reasons.
HURIWA dismissed the directive of President Buhari on the so-called grazing sites as an unmitigated unconstitutional act given that the extant Land Use law governing land administration gives the ownership of landed assets in each state of the Federation to state governments.
“For the avoidance of doubts and from the abundance of scholarly submissions, Mr. President should note that the Land Use Act, enacted in 1978, was meant to standardise land administration systems across the country.”
Buhari had in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, and Publicity Garba Shehu approved recommendations of a committee to review ‘with dispatch’ 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment.”
The committee, which Buhari’s Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari chairs, had recommended collecting field data on 368 grazing reserves across 25 states to assess encroachment and encroachers, stakeholder engagements, and sensitisation.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, whose state has suffered greatly from clashes between farmers and herders, has vehemently opposed the idea.