Press Statement On The Position Of Kaduna South Senatorial Zone On Proposed Grazing Colonies In Nigeria.
Gentlemen of the Press,
I wish to convey to you gentlemen of the Press, the broad view and consensus of Kaduna South Senatorial Zone on the Federal Government’s concluded intention of creating Cattle Colonies in Nigeria in which Kaduna State government has cued into. The “colonies” are to be 5,000 hectares each.
Kaduna South Senatorial Zone, and by extension, the entire Southern Kaduna, rejects any attempt to seize more of its lands for the exclusive settlement of herdsmen and their cattle using state power.
Already, there is an existing Cattle Grazing Reserve in Laduga from lands taking away from indigenes of Zangon Kataf and Kachia Local Government Areas dating back decades ago.
That massive land officially gazetted at 32,000 hectare, (32,000 football fields), but which the present Kaduna State government has expanded to 74,000 hectares was taken from my constituents without compensation till date, as records have it.
It therefore, means that Southern Kaduna has already given much, much more over the needed 5000 hectares by 15 or at least 6 times the needed space for a Grazing Colony – should the size of Laduga Grazing Reserve be put at 72,000 or at 32,000 hectares.
The population of Southern Kaduna is fast increasing with equal demands new farmlands, animal rearing and other land uses for now and in the future.
Ask us for lands to site Universities, government institutions etc. We are willing to give out our lands in partnership with industrialists, mechanised farming, estate developments and all positive social and economic endeavours that are of mutual benefits to everyone.
We have co-habited for very long with Fulani herdsmen without the kind of strange and evil relation that their presence has suddenly turned into in many communities of Southern Kaduna. Herdsmen, their cattle and our people have fared even better in the past when we peacefully lived together in affected communities. It is still possible to normalise that relationships if government is sincere and serious about it, because we believe that majority of our local herdsmen are law abiding and crave for peace and development.
I am sure that had our parents not been living in peace with the Fulani in their time, a lot of resistance would have been put against the Laduga Grazing Reserve becoming a reality even at that time that they had no political power, were not so literate and exposed to forecast the doom that their future generations would later encounter by the creation of that Grazing Reserve.
It would now look as if the terror unleashed on Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt is to cower them into submitting their prime lands for new colonies of herdsmen that are marauding them.
No land in Southern Kaduna is free again for the exclusive economic benefit of a group of people who have paid us with mass murder and destruction in scores of our settlements since 2011 for humanely accommodating them and their forebears.
Herdsmen are rich and can afford to negotiate and buy lands from willing farmers to ranch their animals as is the practice in modern times, since pastoralism is regarded as backward and prone to conflicts.
While, I still very much would encourage cohabiting in a peaceful and free atmosphere with every ethnic group residing in Southern Kaduna, I wish to advise both Kaduna State and the Federal Government not sow permanent seeds of problems that will far outlived their temporary stay in office – such as creating a new permanent abode for herders under the tense and suspicious condition that farmers have for herdsmen today.
The solution to the strange violence developed by armed herdsmen against farming communities is not confiscation of farmers’ lands and settling those who are plundering them.
The solution is to bring to justice those carrying out these heinous crimes and provide security for the defenceless – after all some of them have been identified and paid ‘compensation’ by Kaduna State government. When this is done, sincere dialogue to ending the terror may start between all stakeholders in the crisis.
In conclusion therefore Southern Kaduna does not welcome any Cattle Colony in whatever guise.
Sign: Senator Danjuma Laah, (Shetiman Kagoro).
Senator, Representing Kaduna South Senatorial Zone,
National Assembly Kaduna.
January 23rd, 2018