…Don’t Trample On Rights Of Herders, Senator Adamu Cautions Northern Governors
…Says zoning not entrenched in Constitution
The Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture and rural development Senator Abdullahi Adamu has urged the Government at all levels to prioritize the establishment of modern ranching for herders in Nigeria.
In an interaction with the Senate Presscorps, the former Governor of Nasarawa state explained that just like other segments of the country deserve government intervention in their endeavors so do farmers and herders.
Senator Adamu Abdullahi stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari has made significant improvements as he seized the opportunity to observe that at 61 years of independence Nigeria has moved forward in spite of its Socio-cultural diversity.
The former Nasarawa State governor and Senator representing Nasarawa West, Abdullahi Adamu, again insisted that banning of open grazing of cattle was an infringement on the fundamental rights of the herders.
Senator Adamu made the declaration, on Monday, at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja.
The former Nasarawa State governor had last June accused the 17 governors from the Southern Governors of a gang up against the federal government over their resolution against open grazing of cattle at their meeting held last May in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Senator Adamu, however, maintained that the fact that the governors in the North are taking a similar position as their Southern counterparts does not vitiate his stance that such a move was an infringement on the rights of the herders.
He said: “The fact that a governor or two is doing that doesn’t take away the right of herders. Nature abhors a vacuum. The duty to protect the right of farmers rests squarely with the governors.
“The question to ask is that, have the governors done the right thing?. The answer is No. I am not saying the herders have the right to destroy the livelihoods of the farmers. The stance of some Northern Governors, even if all of them banned open grazing doesn’t change my position.
” If you go to Wuse market, you see the comfort provided for traders. The herdsmen too are Nigerians and the government owes the same duty to herders. The markets are funded with public funds so they have a duty to make provisions for the herders.”
Senator Adamu who agreed that Nigeria must align itself with the modern method of ranching, however, said that both states and the federal government must seize the initiative to make the business of animal husbandry convenient for those trapped in the open grazing method.
“Yes, I am in support of modernization. But we have to distinguish between government and individual modernization efforts. No matter how modern a herder thinks he is, he can’t do it without harm to the farmer.
For God’s sake, is it the fault of the herder that he must move his cattle through the bush while in the modern-day, there are tracks?
“Do we have that? The fact remains that you can’t punish any means of economic pursuit because the government has a duty but somehow we have misdirected our political thinking and refused to identify genuine problems and fault them collectively. Rather, we are looking for fault lines instead of facing a national problem.
“If you can protect a spare parts dealer, why can’t you protect a herder? If the government can save private banks with public money, why can’t we do that with herders? I am for modernization but the government must address the problem, genuinely.”
In the controversy trailing the zoning of the position of presidency ahead next general elections, Senator Adamu who belongs to the governing All Progressives Congress dismissed the agitation for power shift to the south as wishful thinking.
He argued that there is no provision for zoning in the 1999 Constitution and admonished any geopolitical zone anxious to clinch the ticket of the two major political parties to galvanize support for the exalted seat within the parties.
“The Nigerian constitution that I have, there is nowhere it says we should zone any office. There is a federal character, that is in the constitution. The constitution is being reviewed. If you want to review and you want a provision, specific, that presidential office to be zoned in such a manner you tell us how you want it zoned.
“You can’t just wish away a situation that is fundamental to the life of a country.
“You can’t talk of merit and talk of zoning. The issue of rotation, let’s just go by merit. Let every party finds a way of selling itself in a manner as to garner the kind of vote to deliver the presidential result. It is as simple as that.
“It is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Why do you want to change it?
It is wishful thinking only. We are not been practical.
” Is there zoning in the United States Constitution?. Are we more democratic than them? Any zoning in the UK with all the problems with Ireland? Did our colonial masters do it? The Constitution says you can only become the President through the ballot.
“The political party has the last card. As far as I know, the right to field a candidate rests squarely with the political party we can only preach for fairness. That is how far we can go.”
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