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Incessant herdsmen killings: From grazing routes, ranching to colonies



The increasing rate of farmers/herdsmen clashes across the country has assumed a worrisome dimension in recent times, following the loss of lives and property worth millions.

The development appears to be threatening the peace and unity of the country. Many have accused the government and security agents of complicity in the whole saga, considering the way they are handling the crisis.

While many are of the view that the way forward is to revive the grazing route, others believe that building of ranches is the best international practice.

Even the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan had, at the peak of the clashes in Benue in 2014, allegedly given approval for the release N100billion to state governors to build ranches to tackle the incessant clashes between herders and farmers.


Till date, nobody has accounted for how the fund was expended, especially as no ranch was built and the herdsmen menace has continued unhindered across the country.

Unfortunately the Federal and State governments are not on the same page with regard to finding a solution to the recurring menace. That is why not every state government is openly buying into the idea of creating a grazing colony as being proposed by the federal government.

So, disturbing is the fact that members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria appear to be averse to the building of ranches or colonies.

This is why the herdsmen killings in Benue and other parts of country may get out of hand if security agents and government fail to urgently do the needful.

The federal government is advocating for grazing routes and colonies and the argument is that grazing routes have been in existence for centuries. But the question is, what is the position of the law with regard to land in a state?

All lands in Nigeria today are administered and regulated by the Land Use Act of 1978. Under this law, all lands are held for the good of the people under the trusteeship of the Governor.

This means that federal government has no say with regard to land in a state. It is the state government that will even provide the federal government land for any project in the state. Under the law, the federal government cannot compel the state government to open up the state lands for cattle routes or colonies. It is not possible legally.

With this, coupled with the opposing dispositions of some state governors and major stakeholders, one wonders how the federal government’s proposed grazing colonies could see the light of the day.

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