Grazing Reserve Bill: Clear Sambisa Forest for Fulani herdsmen, activist tells Buhari

Posted by News Express | 27 April 2016 | 2,078 times

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Amidst raging controversy and widespread condemnation of the proposed Grazing Reserves Bill widely believed to enjoy the backing of the Presidency, a human rights activist has charged the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, to give order for the nation’s military to sack the Boko Haram insurgents from the Sambisa Forest, for use as grazing reserve for the Fulani herdsmen.

Comrade Alimi Sulaiman Adeniyi, chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) who stated this in a media release, insisted that Fulani herdsmen have been a danger to peaceful co-existence in the country since inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Adeniyi who was reacting to the controversial bill on ‘Grazing reserves’ noted that the bill, if passed into law, would increase avoidable crisis in the land, as communities across the regions of the country are bound to resist the violent Fulani herdsmen, “given their belligerent activities across the states of the federation.”

Sulaiman, who doubles as the Chairman of Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS), also lauded Amnesty International’s indictment of human right abuses of the Nigerian military in war-torn North-East. Describing the proposed grazing reserves bill as ill-conceived, illegal, unconstitutional, self-serving, retrogressive, and a time-bomb  capable of igniting monumental crisis nationwide, Comrade Adeniyi advised President Buhari to drop the idea, as it is contrary to sections 17,18 and 20 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

 He called on well-meaning Nigerians and organisations, including civil society groups, the National Assembly, political parties and the international community to prevail on President Buhari to jettison the illegal idea. Conversely, he recalled that during the 2014 National Conference, a section recommended the scrapping of grazing routes for the establishment of ranches in relevant zones. They charged Buhari to implement the recommendations of the conference, as it will mitigate the current situation where farmers are being killed by Fulani herdsmen.   

Meanwhile, the rights group commended the Amnesty International for exposing the high rate of human right abuses of the nation’s security agents, especially the Nigeria military prosecuting the war against Boko Haram in the North-eastern part of the country. He flayed the excesses of the military operating in the zone, which has led to extra-judicial killing of civilians mistakenly suspected to be members of the terrorist group.

The recent Amnesty International’s report in Abuja stated: “The conflict between the military and Boko Haram resulted in death of thousands of civilians, and over 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the end of 2015. Torture and ill-treatment by the police and security forces were widespread. Demolitions of informal settlements led to forced eviction of thousands of people. Death sentences continued to be imposed.”

However, no executions were reported, although the international human rights watchdog observed that the military committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in its response to Boko Haram between 2011 to 2015.

•Photo shows CHRSJ Chairman, Comrade Alimi Sulaiman Adeniyi.

Source: News Express

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