The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to allow cow dealers to run their private business.
This was as HURIWA said the federal government must focus on national security and not cow businesses.
HURIWA made the remark while berating Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari over his remark that the government has mapped out 30 grazing reserves for implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) as one of the moves by the federal government to solve the protracted conflict over the competition of land, water and pasture by herders and farmers.
The rights group described the move as a clear indication that the Federal Government “likes to stoke anarchy and court controversy in a volatile society that is ruled by ethnic and religious sentiments, emphasizing that it is certain that the sponsors have not adverted their minds to the relevant cases that have been decided by the courts on Land Use Act, Inland waterways, physical planning and acquisition of coastal landed properties by the federal government.”
HURIWA said this in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs; Miss Zainab Yusuf.
According to HURIWA: “By the virtue of the provisions of section 4 and the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which excludes land from the listed items in the schedule, land administration falls within the exclusive residual jurisdiction of the States of the federation. This position is reinforced by the provisions of the Land Use Act, which is a federal legislation, vests powers to manage lands in the State governors.
“The objective of the extant Land Use Act is to ensure that the use of land and water areas and building activities on them create preconditions for a favourable living environment and promote ecologically, economically, socially and culturally sustainable development.
“It is trite law that the Land Use Act is one of the laws entrenched in the constitution by the defunct military junta. To that extent, it enjoys the statutory flavour and cannot be altered in a bid to appease a certain sect of people doing their private businesses.”
HURIWA said the Land Use Act empowers the governors of the states to acquire private land for public use, a cattle colony or whatever name it is called is excluded.
It noted that what constitutes public purpose is statutorily defined in Section 51 (1) of the Land Use Act.
“In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires “Public Purposes” includes: for exclusive government use for general public use; for use by body corporate directly established by law or by anybody corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act … which the government owns shares, stocks or debentures; for or in connection with the sanitary improvement of any kind;
“For obtaining control over land contiguous to any part or over land the value of which will be enhanced by the construction of any railway, road or other public work or convenience about to be undertaken or provided by the government; for obtaining control over land required for or in connection with the development of telecommunications or provision of electricity;
“For obtaining control over land required for or in connection with mining purposes; to obtaining control over land required for or in connection with planted urban or rural development or settlement; for obtaining control over land required for or in connection with economic, industrial or agricultural development; for educational and social services”, HURIWA said.
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