Paul Orude, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has vowed that his administration will not allow armed banditry to take over the state as was the case with Zamfara and Katsina states, which were almost turned into sanctuaries for the criminals.
He opined that discrepancies in land allocation and usurpation of land for herdsmen were the monsters bedevilling Nigeria.
The governor was speaking on Wednesday while inaugurating an Administrative Committee of Inquiry into Land Dispute Between Herders and Farmers Caused by Land Use Abuse and Illegal Allocation in Local Government Areas of the state.
‘We must not allow our state to be a sanctuary for criminality, we know what is happening in other places like Zamfara and Katsina states and such unwholesome attitudes by the authorities, traditional institutions and even public servants and politicians are behind all these.’
He warned that the government will no longer tolerate such happenings as, according to him, ‘any person or group of persons found to be directly or indirectly involved in causing such type of clash will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.
‘As a government that has the safety and well-being of its people at heart, we will not fold our arms, and therefore it becomes imperative to set up this larger and powerful committee that is all-embracing involving all departments and agencies that has got to do with the management of our lands and forests in the Local Government Areas of the state to look at similar problems and challenges in order to address them holistically.’
Governor Mohammed gave the terms of reference of the committee as to visit all the 20 LGAs, particularly government’s reserve forests with a view ascertain their sanctity or otherwise, to investigate and determine if such government’s reserved areas are being illegally allocated by unauthorized persons or group of persons, and those persons who are beneficiaries of such illegal allocations.
The committee is also to determine the person (s) or authority directly or indirectly involved in such illegal allocation of the portion of government’s reserved areas or cattle routes, to determine all cattle routes within and outside the forests reserved and identify areas or portion of encroachment by farmers.
‘It is similarly to make recommendations on measures to be take in order to establish the cattle routes and forests reserved, as well as prevent herders and farmers conflict in the state, and make any other recommendation that will promote a permanent solution of herders/farmers clashes across the state, especially with regard to land allocation, and right of route passage,’ he said.
‘We must see this assignment as the remedy to all the banditry and criminality that are bedevilling us especially forces and bad practices that are forcing common farmers, Fulani people in the village to go into banditry because their own primary way of life has been defrauded by sharp practices. I want to assure you that I will give you all the support. There are no sacred cows in our government. Ours is to make sure that we provide a solitary effect on the polity so that we can leave the state better,’ the governor said.
The 25-member committee that is comprised of Chairman Cattle Breeders Association and Chairman Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Association and Women representative is headed by a former Director-General of Lands and Survey, Alhaji Yahya Baba, with representations from Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Lands and Survey Ministries. Others on the committee include representatives from Boundaries Commission, Environment and Housing, Commissioner of Police – Bauchi State Command, Department of Security Services, NSCDC, Sarkin Dajin Bauchi – Alhaji Rufa’i Mohammed, former Surveyor General Aliyu Gital, while Hamisu Mohammed Kusa is to serve as Secretary.
As recently as Monday, June 29 there was a herders/farmers clash in the Malunji village of Zadawa district in Misau Local Government Area which claimed the lives of nine persons and left many injured.