IS Nigeria dedicated to live in the past? Nigeria’s leadership resurrects the past to make a point for the present. Where that fails, it jumps to a future that is built in the clouds.
The petulant pursuit of old grazing routes to please a few Nigerians is proof that the unimportant can form the central policy of a government. How would managing cattle in the most ancient ways heal Nigeria from the injuries our pastoralists, more famously known as Fulani herdsmen, inflict on it?
Exactly how would grazing routes stop the killings, kidnapping, rape, and arson associated with herdsmen’s exploitation of their entitlement? If unofficially the herdsmen are as much havoc as they are already, what happens when their activities have the imprimatur of President Muhammadu Buhari?
The President has mandated his Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Mallam Abubakar Malami to recover grazing routes and restore them. One gets the impression that some government items were stolen. Recovering them will be another milestone in the innumerable achievements of the Buhari government.
Where are these grazing routes? The law established them mostly in the old Northern Region. Environmental laws in other Regions forbade animals roaming.
Older folks would remember cattle being transported by rail from the North to the South. The few herdsmen who travelled by feet maintained orderly movements. They were armed with bows and arrows to hunt and save themselves from attacks by wild animals.
An antiquated saying in the East is that there is no record of the Hausa (that is who we thought the herdsman were) shooting anyone with their bows and arrows. We are in the era of herdsmen lugging AK-47s.
One day Nigeria will be great. Nigeria’s glory will be restored. Our land will flow with milk and honey. These trite lines are usual utterances at events to continue the despoliation of a country whose future is erected on wobbly illusions of a glorious past.
Buhari is famous for lawlessness. Our Constitution places land, all land, under the various state governments. The President is embarking on his obsolete policy without a law, without the buy in of others. Amazingly, he is not doing it secretly.
Each time he subverts the Constitution he suspends that section of the Constitution. The National Assembly will not call him to order. Instead, leaders of the National Assembly further aggravate the pains of Nigerians by acceding to anything that pleases Buhari.
The National Assembly has reduced the entire purpose of its existence to pleasing Buhari whose policies are decidedly against the sustenance of Nigeria, more so, the Fulani herdsmen who he supports. Grazing routes are dead. They belong to a past that cannot prosper our present. Better alternatives abound that are less expensive and would restore peace to our communities if Buhari has a purpose other than setting sections of Nigeria against themselves.
Buhari’s rail projects should be the new cattle routes with the animals moved across the country to establishments where they are housed, fed and processed for uses. While waiting for the completion of the rails, trailers can do the job as they do some times.
Everyone would be saved from the conflicts cattle and their herders engender across the land. The expenditure in recovering old grazing routes should be ploughed into saving our country and bringing the herdsmen to modernity.
The peace from this transition would be priceless. Nigeria would have recovered sections of its peoples who are being excluded from relevance in the affairs of their country because Buhari has an inexplicable belief in old grazing routes as if they are the healing balms for the injuries his words and deeds inflicts on Nigerians in his strident defence of unruly herders.
A few years ago, pictures of herders and their cattle roaming the areas around the Federal Secretariat, Abuja populated the social media. The traffic jam they caused was immerse. One commentator’s response to the cattle chaos was that the cattle had the right of way as the places were old grazing routes that were etched in the memories of generations of herders. The herders and their supporters need a new memory.
It had been explained that government property on grazing routes would be spared while others would be demolished. Buhari is not thinking of conflicts that would result from demolishing new communities that have sprouted since the abandonment of the grazing routes.
Has anyone wondered what would happen in routes government property obstruct? New routes would be found at the expense of ordinary Nigerians. The consistent reference to government property suggests that places like Abuja would pave ways for the routes, possibly through the city centre.
What can Buhari not do for cattle? Without clarity about the contributions of cattle to the economy, Buhari uses public funds to promote cattle rearing, a private business. The mute National Assembly is impressed.
Buhari’s cattle policies are escalating insecurity in Nigeria. His brazen partiality for Fulani herdsmen creates more enemies for the otherwise peaceful herdsmen now emboldened by the knowledge that Buhari knows and approves their lawlessness.
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LAURETTA Onochie as an INEC Commissioner is not as important as the fact that the 2023 elections would be rigged. We already know it but would concentrate on distractions like Mrs. Onochie.
MAY I be the first to acknowledge improvements in Nigeria’s medical services under the caring administration of President Buhari. The proof is that the President has put off his mandatory medical checkup in London for more than two weeks.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues