The pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has condemned the announcement by President Mohammadu Buhari to establish undefined Integrated Farm Estates in all the 109 Senatorial Districts of the country.
The group said the president’s decision “is another veiled strategy of acquiring land in furtherance of settlement of herdsmen across Nigeria.”
Afenifere noted that the state governments and concerned citizens, ”should be wary of the proverbial Greek gifts of fatal Trojan horses being dangled before them by this Government which days are already being counted.”
Speaking through its Secretary-General, Chief Sola Ebiseni, in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday, Afenifere said the proposal “is more dangerous than Cattle Colony, RUGA or Grazing Reserves, which the people have seen through and outrightly rejected.”
According to the group, “Nigerians are in no way deceived that the urgency purportedly attached to the Programme by President Buhari is of equal proportional zeal with the creation of settled villages for Fulani herdsmen, from everywhere and nowhere, on the ancestral lands of other nationalities, which in the fullness of time would become colonies of tyranny as they are in Southern Kaduna, on the Plateau and many other parts of the Middle Belt.”
Afenifere said the purported Integrated Farm Estates were designed to accommodate all forms of agricultural practices, including Animal husbandry, which will effectively earmark a portion of the acquired vast land as effective Grazing Reserves without saying so.
“It is instructive that the contents of the Integrated Farm Estates, which the Federal Government still kept to its chest were arrogantly exposed by the leadership of Miyetti Allah, during its comic show yesterday, of appointing a Peace Ambassador to rebrand its killer herdsmen members.
“Like the Federal Government, Miyetti Allah insisted on the Federal Government creating Grazing Reserves in all the Senatorial Districts, which they threatened was the only panacea for peace.
“For necessary effects, grounded in unmitigated illegality and gratuitous political insults, it was the Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, a lowly appointee of the President, that had to call on the elected State Governors, in a federation, ‘to key into the President’s desire to make land available for farm estates to be established, which is expected to take away youths from the unemployment market and engage them to achieve food security in a very short period.
“If the President needs are told, food security in the land is not a function of the absence of youths in agriculture, but presently proportional to the security of farmers who have been chased out of their farms and employment, by killer terrorist herdsmen, who have acquired the status of special and untouchable species of homo sapiens, under the Buhari administration.
“The cries across the land is that our President should rise to his primary responsibility of ensuring the security of life and property, especially for the farmers that they may feed the nation. If we may ask, will the Federal Government also build military barracks, stronger than the Nigerian Defence Academy, in those Farm Estates?
“President Buhari needs also be reminded that none of his predecessors, who showed greater interests in agriculture, was this covetous of land and seeking to work over and above the federating states; not even the military Government of Obasanjo in its Operation Feed the Nation, nor Shehu Shagari’s Green Revolution.
“Rather than seeking land by force, which it has no power over by the constitution and the Land Use Act and imposing the type of agricultural practices on the states, let the Federal Government provide resources and incentives to the states in their areas of comparative advantage.
“Thus, in their choice of agricultural endeavours, the Niger Delta States may choose aquaculture while the north West sticks to animal husbandry. The President has not denied that his government has disbursed more than Six Billion Naira to his Katsina home State for ranching without breathing over them for specific land,” Ebiseni stated.