President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that under the Land Use Act of 1978, he lacks the constitutional power to create cattle colonies across the country.
This is as he said the government is committed to laying foundations upon which and equitable and progressive society can be built, where all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potentials without let or hindrance.
Buhari made the declaration yesterday while speaking at the South-South zonal meeting of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The president, who was represented by his special adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said provisions of the Land Use Act gave powers to state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domain.
Reading the president’s speech, Enang said, “When Nigeria was one region or state, that was before Nigeria was formed as a country, we had cattle routes running from Chad, Niger and others down to the Atlantic. When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions.
“When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state, March 28 (I think I am correct), the Land Use Act was made.
Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has power to control lands in Abuja only.
“Under the Land Use Act, each state governor, under Section 2 of the Land Use Act, land in urban areas of each of the states of the Federation shall be vested on the governor. Now, subsection 1(2b) says land in the rural areas shall be vested on the local government chairman of that area.”
Buhari also announced the approval of the first phase of an economic empowerment initiative for no fewer than 200 women and children in each of the senatorial districts the the South-South geopolitical zone of the country.
The president said, “I have the pleasure to acknowledge, as I announce the first phase of a new Council for New Nigeria (CNN) /NCBSG economic empowerment initiative to support the growth of women and youth-led micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the South-South zone.
“The first phase will provide small economic activity grants to 200 women and youths in each senatorial district in this zone. CNN/NCBSG shall work with stakeholders to identity beneficiaries to be announced in due course.”
The president stated that the commitment of his administration to laying the foundations for economic recovery informed its actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds and steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the land.
He said, “As a government, we are committed to laying the foundations upon which an equitable and progressive society can be built, in which all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potential without let or hindrance.
“While it is still work in progress, we are confident that the amount of work done in the first 32 months of this administration points to a new solid foundation for building the Nigeria of our dreams.
“Not only did we ease out of an inevitable recession in record time, our revenue profile, our foreign reserves and foreign investments are all on the rise again; and we have mobilized contractors back to project sites across the country, including the South-South Zone.”
In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, said Buhari has proved to the people of South South and South East geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.
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