Read Touching Article By Reno Omokri On The Grazing Reserves Bill

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The incessant cases of violence between the Fulani herdsmen and their host communities has resulted in the loss of hundreds of human lives as well as destruction of properties worth millions of naira.  In order to provide a lasting solution to this growing problem, the creation of a national grazing reserves seemed to be the answer and presently, the bill for the creation of National Grazing Reserve Commission  is before the Nigerian National Assembly and has successfully scaled through second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. All that is left in the legislative process to make it a law is a 3rd Reading, that is, a clause by clause debate and then assent by the President.

However, a critical study of the bill by experts has revealed some unsettling issues which has given rise to a call by both individuals and different social groups demanding that the bill be stood down. According to an analyst Michael Dedon, the proposed piece of legislation  sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure, wife of a two-time Governor of Niger State, is full of unconstitutionalities, ethnic discriminations, fundamental human rights violations, religious tenets violations, conspicuous criminal omissions and unforgivable legislative indiscretions.

For instance, analysing Section 17(1) of the bill, a pressure group, Igboekulie said :

“There is an element of compulsory acquisition power granted to the Commission once ‘it appears’ to it that the land is good for grazing to seize the land of peasant and other farmers all over Nigeria for the use of the herdsmen for whose benefit the Grazing Reserves are to be created. This is unacceptable. Otherwise, we should expect violent resistance across Nigeria.

“It follows that the Commission has the power to seize people’s lands for the benefit of Fulani herdsmen who conveniently fall into” any class of persons”. This bill must fail on account of this alone.”

Lending his voice to that of many others who are against the National Grazing Commission Bill, Reno Omokri, the Special Assistant to Former President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, he expressed his views thus:

“Nigeria is not the only country where nomadic pastoralists herdsmen come and go. In Kenya, they have the Maasai herdsmen who have been herding cattle around the Nile Valley area from the days of Joseph in ancient Egypt. Other nations have their own form of pastoralists too.

“But never in the history of the 20th and 21st Century has the world encountered a scenario such as that which stares Nigeria in the face, whereby Fulani pastoral Herdsmen simultaneously, nationally and quite systematically are wiping out indigenous Nigerians for the benefit of their cattle.

“I challenge readers to take the time to do a Google search and collate the number of reported casualties from unprovoked Fulani attacks on innocent, unarmed Nigerians in 2016 alone. The results will shock you! I will not throw out a number in order not to give my political foes fodder to use against me in a case of incitement, but please carry out even a cursory research on the matter.

“And what has been the response of the Nigerian Government? I was shocked to read the reaction of Nigeria’s minister of Internal Affairs, retired Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau, who blamed social media users for exacerbating these attacks!

“I mean, really? So what are we to do when we become aware that Fulani herdsmen are accused of killing, raping and maiming Nigerians? Are we to keep quiet in the national interest? Excuse me, but I thought the national interest is the interests of human beings rather than those of cattle!

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“And then President Muhammadu Buhari from faraway China, rightly goes ahead to issue a lethal warning to pipeline vandals: desist from your actions or else be dealt with as I have dealt with Boko Haram!

“Yet this same tough talking president does not have similar words for Fulani herdsmen? Mr. President, how many Nigerians have to die before you give Fulani herdsmen the ‘Boko Haram’ treatment?

“I am Reno Omokri, if anybody likes let them come and arrest me for saying the truth. I would rather live the rest of my life in a dungeon than fold my hands and do nothing while fellow Nigerians are being killed so that cattle may live!

“President Muhammadu Buhari must be willing to suspend the fact that he is himself a Fulani by ethnicity and remember what he has been preaching since he first forced his way into our national consciousness after the coup against President Shagari in 1983.

“I can never forget when the then military head of state, Major General Muhammad Buhari said, “This generation of Nigerians and indeed the future generation have no country other than Nigeria, we shall stay and salvage it together.”

“Indeed, the president must remember that he wanted us to stay and salvage Nigeria together and not stay and be savaged in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen!

“And the absolutely worst part of this story is the attempt by some legislators to add salt to injury and injustice by floating a so called National Grazing Commission Bill to compulsorily acquire large swathes of Nigerian land and give them to the Commission for the benefit of Fulani herdsmen!

“In fact, it makes better sense to establish a Victim Support Commission for the many thousands of victims of Fulani herdsmen than it does to set up a National Grazing Commission!

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“Honestly, I do not understand the idea behind this Bill. The legislators sponsoring the Bill are asking Nigeria to change her land tenure system to fit nomads who may or may not be Nigerian citizens. Has the world gone mad?!!

“The Grazing Commission Bill is an insult to all the victims of the herdsmen. Peace can only be achieved if those who want to herd cattle set up ranches as is done everywhere else in the world!.. The cattle herding business is a private enterprise. It should not be the business of the government to use public land and funds to promote the group interest of Fulani herdsmen.

“Nigeria should not change to fit Fulani herdsmen, instead it is Fulani herdsmen that should change to fit Nigeria!

“The Grazing Commission Bill is an insult to all the victims of the herdsmen. Peace can only be achieved if those who want to herd cattle set up ranches as is done everywhere else in the world!

“The cattle herding business is a private enterprise. It should not be the business of the government to use public land and funds to promote the group interest of Fulani herdsmen.

“Let me assure federal legislators who are foolhardy enough to support this Bill to forget their reelection into the national legislature in communities where Fulani herdsmen have killed innocent Nigerians.

“In fact, they should be ashamed of themselves for sitting in a National Assembly where the Lagos-Calabar rail was not provided for in the 2016 Budget and watched as the #GrazingCommissionBill got to second reading!

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“I am tempted to ask if this is a Federal Republic of Nigeria or a Federal Republic of Fulani Herdsmen, with Nigerians as second class citizens? Hardworking, tax paying Nigerian citizens do not have land to build houses yet the backers of this repugnant Bill want to give free land to Fulani herdsmen?

“Instead of passing laws to protect victims of genocide, they want to pass laws to protect those who commit genocide! Talk about Stockholm syndrome!

“I am tempted to ask if this is a Federal Republic of Nigeria or a Federal Republic of Fulani Herdsmen, with Nigerians as second class citizens? Hardworking, tax paying Nigerian citizens do not have land to build houses yet the backers of this repugnant Bill want to give free land to Fulani herdsmen?

“But should I or anybody reading this really blame the sponsors of this Bill? Shouldn’t the blame rightly be on all of us collectively when we keep silent while our brothers die due to political ambition and the fear of persecution!

“Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

“I am Reno Omokri, if anybody likes let them come and arrest me for saying the truth. I would rather live the rest of my life in a dungeon than fold my hands and do nothing while fellow Nigerians are being killed so that cattle may live!”

Reno Omokri is the host of “Transformation With Reno Omokri”, founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California and author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept.

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