President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that grazing routes, established during the colonial era, must be restored across the country as a remedy to seasonal farmers-herders clashes.

The President stated this during an interview broadcast on Channels Television on Wednesday.

President Buhari had in August last year approved the review of the 368 grazing sites which cut across 25 states of the federation to determine the level of encroachment.

“What we have to do is start from bottom-upwards. We must ensure that the grazing areas and ponds are secured for them, so they don’t have to go through people’s farms.”

When responding to how soon restructuring will take place in the country since it was one of the key promises of his party the APC, when campaigning for his election, the President said he did not understand the concept of restructuring.

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During the interview, the President insisted that state police was not part of the options his regime would explore to address insecurity.

“State police is not an option. Find out the relationship between local governments and the governors. Is the third tier of government (local governments) getting what they should get constitutionally? Are they getting it?

“Let the people in the local government tell you the truth, the fighting between local governments and the governors.”

President Buhari also closed the chances of applying a political solution to the Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB dilemma.

Some Igbo leaders, led by a first republic Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amechi, visited the President with a plea to release the IPOB leader.

But the President now says he will not interfere in the workings of the Judiciary.

He added that Kanu had to defend himself after making several accusations against his regime while he was out of the country.

“But what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration, I never really thought that he wanted to voluntarily come to defend himself on the accusations he has made.

“So, we are giving him the opportunity to defend himself in our system, and not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian.”

OHANEZE REACTS

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, plans to meet to deliberate on the President’s stand which they consider a departure from the promise he made to the leaders last year.

The group insists that what is required in addressing the IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu situation should be a political solution.

Ohaneze spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, says the groups position is very clear and constant and added that the President will soon understand.

“We have looked at the whole scenario and we are convinced that Nnamdi Kanu’s case and IPOB can only be solved through a political solution.

“It is unfortunate that the Presidency or the president hasn’t appreciated the Ohanaeze position and by extension the Igbo position or the Igbo leadership position on this matter. But we are very confident that by time we will meet him early this year he will understand it more.”

AFENIFERE

Leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, was disappointed by the President’s claim not to understand the concept of restructuring.

“With all that he knows, if that is all he will say, at the end of his term (second tenure), after he had contested election on that basis, we are doomed in this country.”

Afenifere leader wondered why the APC set up a committee on true federalism chaired by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State if the President himself, truly does not know what restructuring is.

On President Buhari’s insistence on maintaining the colonial grazing routes, Chief Adebanjo said, “How can anybody talk about that now? It is only in this clime. Anybody who is talking about grazing routes…until we change this constitution, if we go to another election, we will die under slavery.”

PDP
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, accused the President of being comfortable with the state of insecurity in the country.

He pointed out that the President’s statement state police was not an option suggested that the situation might not be about to change.

He added that the President’s insistence on grazing routes to address the challenge of killer herdsmen showed that he was bereft of ideas.

“It appears the continued killings in some localities of Nigeria, particularly in the North, and more specifically in President Buhari’s home state of Katsina, may not matter to him.”

Mr Ayu concluded that to expect anything new from the President would be a misplaced and unfortunate expectation.

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