Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom made a statement to the newsmen that he would sue Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to court if he persists on his grazing policy.
Governor Ortom, criticized Buhari over insisting on reviving the grazing reserve policy despite widespread opposition to it.
The governor is resolute on his stand that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria supersedes the Northern Nigeria Law that established grazing reserves.
According to Ortom, he said ‘‘the state administration would not approve the grazing reserve programme’’.
“Instead, I will go to court to dispute him as I have already briefed my attorneys to start the process. With this drastic step, I believe I’ll win’’.
“The truth is that if the entire country had accepted ranching; then why is Mr President insisting on open grazing when there is no land for such’’.
The state governor recalled that “In the 50’s when this policy was introduced, the population of Nigeria as at then was less than 40 million. Today, the Nigerian population is more than 200 million and the 923 square kilometers is not even enough to cater for the population. The reason Mr. President is insisting; to some of us, it shows that there is a hidden agenda he has in mind against the country’’.
In relation to the issue, it will be recalled that a Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, had said under the Land Use Act, the Federal Government has no control over land outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Falana said this in his reaction to the committee approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to review 368 grazing routes across 25 state in Nigeria.
He maintained that ‘’the President cannot under the law impose any land policy on states, adding that the land in every state in Nigeria is being controlled by the governor on behalf of the people.”
Governor Ortom concluded that under his watch, his state will not accept open grazing reserve, advising instead that Mr President aides, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and other lawyers around him should advise him on his action.