Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the allocation of N6 billion to all states government in the country for ranching development purposes, just as he did for his home state of Katsina.

Falana, who is also the interim chair, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), stated this in a statement issued yesterday, stressing that ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’.
He said his demand is in consonance with Section 17 (1) of the constitution, which stipulates that the people of Nigeria shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law.

Falana also drew attention of the federal government to the position of the law that while the land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)is vested in the president, the land in the each state of the federation is exclusively vested in the governor pursuant to the provisions of the Land Use Act, Cap. L5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He maintained that the federal government has no business reviving ‘grazing reserves’ on its own as it doesn’t control land use.
The Lagos-based laywer advised that instead of chasing the shadows of grazing reserves, the federal government should support the state governments to develop ranches on its own as it has done in Katsina State as a solution to the problems arising from the obsolete agricultural practice of open grazing.

The statement read: “On July 16, 2021, it was disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the sum of N6. 25 billion for the immediate establishment of ranching in Katsina State. The disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja.

“In confirming the disclosure, the Katsine State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, said ‘the president has graciously approved the sum of N6.25 billion for ranch development purposes in Katsina State. Part out of this amount, N5 billion, is already in the account of the state government and within few weeks, you will see advertisement calling for interested companies and consultants that will participate in construction.”

“The implication of the special allocation of the sum of N6.25 billion to the Katsina State Government is that President Buhari has adopted ranching to replace open grazing in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the federal government.

“However, since what is good for the goose is good for the gander, we call on the president to approve the allocation of the same sum of N6.25 billion for every other state government for ranch development purposes. This demand is in consonance Section 17 (1) of the Constitution which stipulates that the people of Nigeria shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law.

“However, since the Northern Governors Forum and the Southern Governors Forum have rejected open grazing and adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the federal government, including ranching the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, it’s compelled to urge President Buhari to jettison the planned implementation of grazing reserves in 25 states. It is time the attention of the federal government was drawn to the position of the law to the effect that while the land in the FCT is vested in the president, the land in each state of the federation is exclusively vested in the governor pursuant to the provisions of the Land Use Act, Cap. L5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

THISDAY LIVE