By Akioyamen Josephine
FACT 1. There was never any Federal law mandate on Grazing Reserves and Routes since 1960.
FACT 2. The only Grazing Reserve Law that existed was the Grazing Reserve Law of Northern Nigeria Law No. 4 of 1965. This law passed by the defunct Northern Regional Assembly was applicable only to the North.
FACT 3. Western Region, Eastern Region, Midwest Region never enacted Grazing Reserves laws. Each took Ranching as state policies. However they never prohibited open grazing either.
FACT 4 . The Northern Regional law turned 6.4 million hectares of land into Grazing Reserves and routes stretching from Sokoto to Lokoja. In Benue and Nasarawa the reserve, measured about 17,000 square kilometres in size, and lies along the routes to Dedere on the North-West; Rufai and Azara on the North-East; Tunga on the East; Keana on the West; and Makurdi and Gbajima on the South-West.
FACT 5. The Grazing Reserve Law N.N (Northern Nigeria) Law No. 4 of 1965 was inherited by the 19 states that were carved out of the area that was once the defunct Northern Region of Nigeria. More specifically in Benue it was christened the Grazing Reserve Law Cap 72 Laws of Benue, 2004.
FACT 6. The Grazing Reserve Law Cap 72 Laws of Benue, 2004 was repealed by the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law, 2017 and every right, privileges, obligations etc obtained under or appurtenant to the Grazing Reserve Law N.N (Northern Nigeria) Law No. 4 of 1965 were extinguished.
FACT 7. Grazing reserves do not exist in Benue anymore. They never existed in states carved out of the defunct Western Region, Eastern Region and the Midwestern Region.
FACT 8. Buhari has no power, under the constitution, or under the Land Use Act, to order a review of 368 Grazing Reserves across 25 states because the Federal government never owned or mandated grazing reserves or routes. They belonged to the states carved out from the defunct Northern Region. It is the governors of those states which have not repealed the The Grazing Reserve Law N.N (Northern Nigeria) Law No. 4 of 1965 that have the power to order this review both under the Constitution and in accordance with the Land Use Act.
FACT 9. Buhari’s action is null and void because it is unconstitutional.