Buhari’s plan for ranches is sectional: - HURIWA

*Wants armed Fulani killers prosecuted and punished:

The plan by the federal government under the presidency of the Fulani, Katsina state born president Muhammadu Buhari to spend public fund amounting to nearly N200 billion to set up cattle ranches for the use of private cattle owners belonging to Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association made up exclusively of Fulani is illegal and unconstitutional.

Condemning the decision as discriminatory and sectional, the Rights group wondered why President Buhari is more interested in placating and literarily bribing private cattle owners some of whom are armed and are suspected to have carried out series of violent attacks in different flashpoints across the country and principally in North central states of Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Southern Kaduna.

“The failure of President Buhari to clinically confront the menace of blood cuddling coordinated killings of farmers in those flash points notably in Benue state including the forceful takeover of Tiv farming communities and the destruction of churches, killing of priests and Christian worshippers, is a serious failure of leadership which has global wide implication for Nigeria.”

“What kind of government will be more interested in bribing alleged killers of farmers even without making use of the relevant security forces and law enforcement mechanisms to fish out the armed Fulani marauders/killers and their sponsors, detect, degrade and destroy sources of the weapons and retrieve and return forcefully confiscated farm lands to the real owners?”

“We regret to say that we are absolutely disappointed with this latest misplaced priority of building ranches with humongous public fund raised from the revenues derived from international sales of Niger Delta crude oil resources and other tax paid by even states whose citizens have been killed by armed Fulani herdsmen. We are however pleased that open grazing would inevitably be replaced by ranching but the government must allow the private owners of cows to source the ways and means of constructing ranches even as the government can facilitate credit facility schemes to provide soft grants and loans for the cattle owners to build, operate, run the ranches and pay back the loans. But to dip hands into public till and construct ranches for cattle owners only because their kinsman is the current President is discriminatory. Why is government of Nigeria also not building shops for Igbo, Hausa and Calabar traders and support entrepreneurial activities of all sections of Nigeria equitably? This policy of building ranches for private cattle owners using public fund of N170 billion beginning with the initial tranche of N70 billion should be challenged in court by the people whose lands will be taken for these illegal projects without the approval of the owners of these landed assets. The only way is for cattle owners of all tribes to be offered soft loans to set up ranches for their private cow's breeding activities.

HURIWA affirmed that the decision to spend N70 Billion immediatelly to build ranches for Fulani herdsmen amounts to discrimination because the same government has adopted no concrete and verifiable actions to reconstruct communities attacked by armed Fulani herdsmen, compensate victims and arrest, prosecute and punish all those who are responsible for massacres.”

HURIWA supported her assertion by citing Section 42- (1) and (2) of the Nigerian Constitution which stated thus: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person – (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizen of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizen Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions. (2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.”