By Chinelo Obogo and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against imposing open cattle grazing on states unwilling to accept such policies.
He gave the warning against the backdrop of the recent approval by President Buhari of recommendations of a committee chaired by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, to review 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country and to determine the levels of encroachment.
The Committee also recommended production of maps and geo-mapping/tagging of sites, analysis of findings and report preparations as well as design appropriate communication on grazing reserves and operations.
However, with some southern states signing laws prohibiting open grazing in line with the stance of governors from the region taken during a meeting in Asaba, Delta State on May 11, Tambuwal warned President Buhari to “only do his programme of cattle routes or grazing reserves where the people or communities are interested.”
The anti-open grazing law has come into effect in Abia, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, and Ebonyi, while Delta, Akwa Ibom and Enugu have sent bills to their state Assemblies. States like Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Edo and Lagos are yet to commence legislative process on the bill.
Tambuwal in a paper titled: “Security challenges in Nigeria and its implications for sustainable development” delivered at the Richard Akinnola’s 63rd birthday lecture held in Lagos, yesterday, said it was time to stop the current and ongoing mode of pasturing where by Fulani herdsmen would be moving from one place to the other. “The time has come to come to face the reality of the fact that it is not helpful for the Fulani herdsmen themselves, the cows and communities they are passing through. We should rethink and rework that arrangement. I said that President Muhammadu Buhari should only do his programme of cattle routes or grazing reserves where the people or communities are interested. If the government can provide infrastructure and support in locations where these practices are tolerated and understood, it can be done. Why must someone from Sokoto be pursuing his cattle to Delta State?”
Speaking further, the Sokoto Governor said one of the reasons why insecurity persisted in the country was because of weak and inept leadership that has not been unable to unite the country for common purpose. He advocated a decentralised police for the country saying without that, the government would make very little progress in stabilising the security situation in the country.
He said state governments are sometimes hamstrung in dealing decisively and timeously on security matters as police don’t take orders from governors. He said a National Conference on policing and security involving all stakeholders have become imperative to flesh out the constitutional questions involved in policing.
“We need to interrogate and review Nigeria’s security architecture and I would start with the Nigerian police. In a democracy, the police force is the major instrument for the security of lives and property. Section 214 of the constitution which established the police force puts the command of the force in the Inspector General of Police and not in the President. Lives and property can be better and more effectively secured by people closer to the grassroots. Hence, the clamour for some form of state policing or constitutional decentralisation of police powers.”
On leadership, the Sokoto governor also said Nigeria does not need a parochial and provincial leader in 2023, but someone with a broad worldview.
He said the next leader of the country should be someone who is visionary and conversant with modern technology.
“There is no short cut or magic wand to curtail insecurity other than the deployment of relevant tools of good governance, proper technology, necessary military and police equipment, a well trained and properly remunerated manpower, and lowering of tensions in the country through enthronement of a government that serves all and not a section and group.
“Nigeria needs a leader that is versatile. One that has friends and associates across the length and breadth of this country. A leader with a broad world view and not a parochial and provincial politician. We need an incorruptible leader who understands that the best way to fight corruption is by personal examples and also by the building of strong institutions that can withstand shocks and manipulations.
“Nigeria needs a leader in tune with the times. Who is reasonably aware of the modern demands of technology in solving societal problems. Yes, Nigeria needs a bridge builder, a compassionate leader, sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the poor and needy. A leader whose words count and can be counted on. Indeed, a leader with courage.”