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Editorial

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The controversial issue of establishing Grazing Reserves and Ranches nationwide which obviously generated heated debates, especially from the southern parts of the country, appears to be put in abeyance by the Federal Government which fired the first salvo, apparently to test the reaction of the people.

The controversial issue of establishing Grazing Reserves and Ranches nationwide which obviously generated heated debates, especially from the southern parts of the country, appears to be put in abeyance by the Federal Government which fired the first salvo, apparently to test the reaction of the people.


Although the contentious issue has not been properly spelt out by the Federal Government and has not given out hope for its implementation the statement credited to a prominent Fulani cattle owner and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, gave the impression that such proposed reserves and ranches would be limited to only the Northern States whose cattle herdsmen caused the furor.
Governor Tambuwal made this known recently in Aba during a day's working visit to Abia State, while exchanging views with his host, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. The man did not mince words, he said explicitly, “I am a Fulani man from Sokoto and I have cattle. It is better to put things properly”.
Apparently reacting to his host's promptings who had earlier made it known to him that any plan to establish a grazing reserve for Fulani herdsmen would be frustrated in the South-East because of paucity of land space in the various communities of that geo-political zone.
It would be necessary to re-emphasize Tambuwal's reported statement for the understanding of those who fear to jut out their necks lest they might be accused of not toeing their master's line, however rocky it is. His words, “I believe the Federal Government is coming up with a measured response of ensuring that we have grazing reserves particularly with emphasis in the North, in states where they (the cattle) originate so that they can remain within their neighborhood and cater for their cattle”.
This would be a well-thought-out measure, but with a proviso; any such grazing reserve should serve only cattle rearers in that locality; it should not be meant for all comers.
What this means is that, any such reserve and ranch should be exclusively used by a local government area of the state; there should be no straying from one local government area to the other, as we are witnessing these days… these agonizing days of Fulani herdsmen's perceived licentious insurgency.
We thank Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for making a clean breast of the issue of grazing reserves and ranches which if implemented, would be an open sesame for feckless jihadists lurking around under the guise of herdsmen to berth in Christian-dominated Igboland and environs.
Certain weak-knee governors in the South would not have the muscle or effrontery to voice out their resentment on the issue, because to do so, would be anti-party! Such governors and other powerful politicians would just gloss over the issue unwittingly and unknowingly caressing the tiger, so to say, mistaking the fierce carnivorous animal for a cat, a look-alike domestic animal mostly nursed as a pet by some people.
Governors Ikpeazu and Tambuwal's views serve as a warning to our legislators who may be confronted with a veiled bill, dressed in immaculate embroidery that hides an evil intent, like a proposal for a welfare package for farmers on the condition of provision of land (grazing area) for the seeming all-purpose agricultural project. To be fore-warned, is to be fore-armed.

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