Farmers-Herdsmen Crises: Understanding the Confines of Freedom of Movement and Residency in the Light of Extant Law on Ownership and Control of Lands, Forests in Nigeria

By Udems (On A Special Day of Love, Out of Love For Beloved, Loving, & Lovely Nigerians)

  1. Memory Verse:

“A major duty legal [academics,] researchers and rule of law campaigners owe society in the practice of constitutional democracy for promotion and sustenance of responsible and responsive governance is to constantly offer legal opinions on issues of law to guide our leaders and institutions in the discharge of leadership responsibilities”. (See: Udemezue, S., January 19, 2020. ‘The Place For “Kick-Backs” & “Bribes” In Our Efforts To Kick Back Corruption & Kick-Start Responsible Governance In Nigeria’. (Thenigerialawyer.com, 23 October 2018) <https://thenigerialawyer.com/the-place-for-kick-backs-bribes-in-our-efforts-to-kick-back-corruption-kick-start-responsible-governance-in-nigeria-a-legal-opinion-by-sylvester-udemezue/> [accessed 14 February 2021]. 

  1. Background

This Love-Day commemorative legal opinion is informed by a statement the current writer came across a few days ago, in the news media. Speaking as a special guest of honour at the launch of the inaugural edition of the Bauchi Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)’s magazine titled “Correspondents’ Watch” on Thursday, February 11, 2021, the Bauchi State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Bala Mohammed had said that “Nobody owns any forests in Nigeria, it’s owned by Nigeria. Under section 23, 24 and 25 of the constitution, every Nigerian is free to stay anywhere”. (published on legit.ng) . It would be recalled a popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, had issued a quit notice to herdsmen accused of sundry crimes in the Ibarapa area of Oyo state and enforced same. In a similar vein, His Excellency, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo State, Nigeria had in a public statement, directed that “All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021. (2) Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night. (3). Movement of cattle     within cities and highways is prohibited. (4). Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed”. (premiumtimesng.com)

  1. Who Owns and Controls Lands and Forests in States of Nigeria?

Section 1 of Land Use Act, CAP L5, LFN, 2004 provides: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation *are hereby vested in the Governor of that State and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act”. Section 2 of the Act provides that “as from the commencement of this Act – (a) all land in urban areas shall be under the control and management of the Governor of each State. And (b) all other land shall … be under the control and management of the Local Government, within the area of jurisdiction of which the land is situated”. Section 49 of the Act provides that “Nothing in this Act shall affect any title to land whether developed or undeveloped held by the Federal Government or any agency of the Federal Government at the commencement of this Act and, accordingly, any such land shall continue to vest in the Federal Government or the agency concerned. (2) In this section, “agency” includes any statutory corporation or any other statutory body (whether corporate or unincorporated) or any company wholly-owned by the Federal Government”. In my opinion, the indisputable legal implication of the above provisions include that the Governor of a State in Nigeria owns and controls all lands and all forests within the State, with the exception of lands or properties owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria or Federal Government agencies. Kunle Oderemi brings this clearer when he wrote:

“The Land use Act clearly states that the governor of a state is the sole institution entrusted with land. He holds it in trust for the people of the state. The provision of the law, in Chapter 202 of the laws of Nigeria 1990 states: “An Act to vest all Land compromised in the territory of each State (except land vested in the Federal government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the State , who would hold such Land in trust for the people and would henceforth be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals resident in the State and to organisations for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes while similar powers will with respect to non urban areas are  conferred on Local Governments.(27th March 1978)”. (barristerng.com).

  1. What Is The Legal Status Of The Land Use Act vis-a-vis The Constitution of The Federal |Republic Of Nigeria, 1999?

Section 315(5) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides that “Nothing in this Constitution shall invalidate the following enactments, that is to say – (a) the National Youth Service Corps Decree 1993; (b) the Public Complaints Commission Act; (c) the National Security Agencies Act; (d) the Land Use Act, and the provisions of those enactments shall continue to apply and have full effect in accordance with their tenor and to the like extent as any other provisions forming part of this Constitution and shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with the provisions of section 9 (2) of this Constitution”. The obvious implications of the above provisions (s.315(5)) is that:

  1. The Land Use Act is like a part of the Constitution; 
  2. The Constitution is not Superior to the Land Use Act;
  3. In the event of inconsistency between the Land Use Act and the Constitution, nothing in the Constitution shall nullify any portion of the Land Use Act. Hence section 1(3) of the Constitution does adversely affect any provisions of the Land Use Act. Section 1(3) of the Constitution provides that If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”.
  1. Supremacy of the Land Use Act and Absoluteness, Non-Justiciability of State Governor’s Ownership and Control of Lands & Forests Within His State

Section 47 of the Land Use Act provides: “(1)This [Land Use] Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any law or rule of law including the Constitution of the Federation or of a State and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into:-(a) any question concerning or pertaining to the vesting of all land in the Governor in accordance with the provisions of this Act: or (b) any question concerning or pertaining to the right of the…Governor to grant a statutory right of occupancy in accordance with the provisions of this Act; or (c) any question concerning or pertaining to the right of a Local Government to grant a customary right of occupancy under this Act. (2) No court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into any question concerning or pertaining to the amount or adequacy of any compensation paid or to be paid under this Act”. It is respectfully submitted that the legal implications of the above provisions are as follows:

  1. .  No provisions of the Land Use Act shall be adversely affected by the provisions of any other law in Nigeria, including the Constitution;
  2.  No Court in Nigeria has any powers to entertain any questions relating to to (i) the vesting of all land in the State in the State Governor, (ii) the right of the State Governor to grant Statutory Right of Occupancy, (iii) adequacy of compensation paid or to be paid under the Land Use Act.
  1. The Right to Movement & Residency VERSUS State Governor’s Absolute Ownership And Control of Lands.

Section 41 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom”.  It must be stressed that by virtue of section 315(5) of the Constitution and section 47 of the Land Use Act, the provisions of section 41 of the Constitution must apply subject to the provisions of the Land Use act relating to the powers of a State Governor over lands in the State. In other words, the right of every citizen and resident of Nigeria to move freely on all lands and to reside anywhere, is subject to the following:

  1. A citizen of Nigerian and/or indeed any person IS NOT ENTITLED to enter, for purposes of possession, use or other occupation, upon any land or other real properties in any state in Nigeria unless and until — (i) the Governor of the affected State or the holder or deemed holder of the Right of Occupancy on the affected land or real property has previously granted such a citizen or person permission or license to access, occupy or use such land or real property, and (ii) upon/after due fulfillment by such a citizen or other person, of all reasonable and lawful conditions set by the Governor or by such holder or deemed holder of the relevant Right of Occupancy. This means that there are only four lawful options open to  any Nigerian citizen/resident who desires to have the right take over, possess, use, occupy or otherwise reside in any land, or forest within any State in Nigeria, namely —
  1. Such a citizen must have applied for and obtained in respect of the affected land, a Certificate of Statutory Right of Occupancy from the Governor of the State within which the land is situate (if the land is in an urban area) or a Certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy from the Chairman of the Local Government Area within which the land is located (if the land is in a rural area),  or 
  2. Such a citizen must have applied for and purchased the affected land from the holder or deemed holder of the Right of Occupancy over the land, or 
  3. Such a citizen must have applied for and taken a lease/tenancy of the affected land from the holder or deemed holder of the Right of Occupancy over the land, or
  4. Such a citizen must otherwise have applied for and been granted a license (that is, legal permission/consent) to have access to or occupy the affected land; such license may only be given by the Governor, the holder of a right of occupancy over the land or his privies, agents, successors-in-title or assigns. Howsoever, the bottom line is that all access to, use and occupation of land must be lawful and backed by extant law.

 The constitutional right of any Nigerian citizen or resident to move freely around Nigeria is limited by the Law of Trespass to Land.  In Nigeria, just like in Britain, the Law of Trespass to Land is a specie of the Law of Torts and falls under the category of civil wrongs that are actionable per se. This means the aggrieved lawful owner/possessor of real property need not show any actual damage to his property in order to succeed in a Court action founded upon trespass. The definition of what amounts to trespass in Nigeria remains ever so wide that the most flimsy straying upon the land is sufficient (per O. Maxwell Ikongbeh (2016).  One of the most comprehensive definitions and one of the clearest explanations of meaning and nature of trespass to land was given in the case of  NGENE v. OKOH & ANOR (2018) LPELR-44946(CA), per TUR, J.C.A ( pp. 24-31, paras. A-B. 

Trespass is both a civil and criminal wrong because it can cause injury, i.e., violation of legal rights as well as damage to one`s person and or property substantially; any intentionally directed, unreasonable interference with one`s person or property is trespass. See Ataguba v. COP (2011) LPELR-3845(CA), the Court of Appeal held (Per NWODO ,J.C.A ( P. 33, paras. A-C); SPIESS V. ONI (2016) LPELR-40502(SC), per SANUSI ,J.S.C ( Pp. 53-54, paras. C-F). Trespass law is a relatively straightforward doctrine that protects landowners against intrusions by opportunistic trespassers. In Law of Torts (p. 660), learned author S.C. Thanvi explained that “the legal maxim, “Quare Clausum Fregit” defines land as not only the surface and any building on it but also the airspace and subsoil, in so far as these are vested on the plaintiff. The action of trespass to land penalizing direct interference with other people`s land”

  1. Sections 23, 24 And 25 of the Constitution to the Rescue? 

A quick take-in or take-away from the aforesaid is that there is hardly any provision of any law in Nigeria that entitles any person in Nigeria to arbitrarily enter upon, possess, use, occupy, settle or reside upon any land in any State in Nigeria without the prior permission of either the Governor of the State or the holder or deemed holder of the Right of Occupancy in respect of that land, or, their privies or assigns. Sections 1, 2, and 47 of the Land Use Act are superior to section 41 of the Constitution. Accordingly, and with the greatest respect, it is therefore legally, morally and factually wrong and unreasoning for anyone in Nigeria to declare or claim that his right as a citizen to reside anywhere in Nigeria entitles him to enter upon any land in any state to occupy, possess or otherwise use same without prior permission of the Governor or the land owners (ie., holders of the right of occupancy or their agents or privies). Alhaji Bala Mohammed referred to some people of other tribes who he said had lived in Bauchi for over 150 years. But, with due respect, His excellency failed or neglected to point out any one person among these non-indigenes of Bauchi who did not lawfully  acquire his/her right to use, possess or occupy the property or land (upon which he/she currently lives or works) in Bauchi through purchase, license/lease/tenancy or grant from or by a Government in Bauchi State and after the non-indigene`s fulfillment of set of procedural steps for such acquisition, purchase, lease, or grant, etc. If non-indigenes resident or working in Bauchi State must follow due process of law in acquiring land or other property within Bauchi State for their use or occupation, why would the Bauchi State Governor advocate that Bauchi State indigenes are at liberty to illegally and violently enter upon lands and forests in other states to occupy same, use or otherwise possess same? What the governor has done in having suggested that no forest in Nigeria belongs to anyone in particular is, with respect, tantamount to applying similar strokes to dissimilar situations. One may, in response to the Governor`s argument, ask, Is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander? The divine golden rule states that one must do unto others exactly as one would have/love others to do unto one. With the greatest respect to his Excellency, such reasoning, argument as advanced by him, promotes inequity, advances injustice, is retrogressive, unsupported, unsupportable by any extant law within Nigeria. The most intriguing aspect of the Governor`s speech and declaration is his reference to section 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria to support his proposition that no one owns any forest and land in Nigeria. Sections 23 (dealing with “National Ethics”), 24 (dealing with “Duties of Citizens”) , and 25 (dealing with “Citizenship by birth”) have absolutely nothing related to the statement credited to the Governor of Bauchi State. One then wonders where he had taken his legal authorities from.  Or, could the provisions of section 24 (c), (d) and (e) be what His Excellency thought was the foundation of his supposed legal position. Section 24 (c), (d) and (e) provides: “It shall be the duty of every Nigerian to (a) respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood; (d) make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides; (e) render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order”. 

Contrary to the Governor`s erroneous belief, I respectfully think the best way to show respect for “the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony”, to “make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where” one resides, and to “render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order” is to oneself be peaceful and law-abiding, upholding rule of law in one`s conducts and utterances.

A citizen who goes about grazing cattle upon other citizens` land, forests and property without the prior consent of those other citizens, who goes about grabbing, illegally occupying, entering upon, using or otherwise illegally and lawlessly possessing another`s land and who refuses to adopt and follow due process of law in acquiring, possessing, occupying, using other people`s land, cannot be said to be complying with the provisions of section 24 (c), (d) and (e) of the Constitution or of sections 23 and 25 of same. Indeed, to call a spade by its name, such a citizen or resident is acting directly against those provisions and against the spirit and intendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. All actions of public and private individuals and citizens ought to be regulated, guided by law. See section 1(1) &(2) of the Nigerian Constitution. In his famous book, COMMON SENSE, Thomas Paine wrote (about America), “…that the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.” Hear Michael Joseph Oakeshott FBA (1901-1990), English philosopher and political theorist: “rule of law … is the most civilized and least burdensome conception of a functioning state…” When Rule of Law disappears, we are ruled by the whims and caprices of men. And under such ugly circumstances and scenario, peace, unity, oneness, and tolerance may elude society; a society in such turmoil hardly makes genuine progress. Is this what His Excellency wants for Nigeria? At this juncture, reference to the irrefutable query issued by Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN, is considered apposite. The learned Senior Advocate and legal giant, irked by what he believed to be an “irredeemably flawed” reply by ECNBA to his earlier petition to the NBA Board of Trustees, against the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA),  was constrained to pose this rhetorical question: “Are there Lawyers in the ECNBA at all”? (See: “NBA 2020 Elections: Dele Adesina, SAN To NBA Board Of Trustees: No Credible Defence By ECNBA To My Petition” published in the thenigerialawyer). Similarly, may I ask these pertinent questions regarding the instant case/situation: Were there no Legal Advisers at all to guide His Excellency on the true position of  extant law before his outburst? Does his Excellency not know that political declarations without legal foundations, are void and of no effect?  Should the occupant of the exalted office of Governor speak law without proper, prior legal consultation and advice? 

  1. Do Livestock Have Any Right To Unrestrained Freedom of Movement and Residence On Any Land, Anywhere In Nigeria?

With the greatest respect, the most glaring distortion and desecration of the Nigerian Constitution and rule of law in Nigeria, is the argument in some quarters that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria entitles cattle/cows and their rearers (herders) to move freely on any land in Nigeria and to use, occupy or otherwise reside on any land, anywhere in Nigeria or to graze on any land, anywhere in Nigeria. The discussion this authors has held above applies in the case of herders or herdsmen. And, regarding cows and cattle, there is no valid existing law any where in Nigeria or in any part of the civilized world that has elevated animals, such as cows/cattle, rams, etc, to the status of human/fellow citizens of the human country so as to allow such animals the right to roam freely and aimlessly upon lands and forests in parts of the country. 

It is my respectful submission that cows and cattle are not human beings and can never be human beings unless they transform to assume the human form, with all human features, which is practically impossible. Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 contemplates only living human beings  and not animals, however precious, revered, loved or beloved such animals may be to their owners or holders. The provisions of the law referred to and discussed above have left no one in doubt that no citizen or resident of Nigeria has any right to roam aimlessly on another`s land without the latter`s prior permission and that no citizen of Nigeria is entitled to use, possess, or otherwise occupy another person`s land without the prior consent of the latter. Any unauthorized entry upon, use, possession or occupation of land that does not belong to you is both a civil wrong legally actionable (even per se), and a criminal offence punishable under Nigerian laws. Now, if human beings have no absolute right to move freely and occupy people`s land indiscriminately and arbitrarily, how can any one think of, let alone suggest, that mere animals (cows, cattle, etc) may come close to possessing any such rights? 

It is an act of violence to the Nigerian Constitution and all extant laws for any one to indulge in such a thwarted kind of empty argument. The Constitution is and remains the supreme law of Nigeria, the grund norm and therefore, in any case of inconsistency between the Constitution and any other law anywhere in Nigeria or elsewhere, including all Treaties, Protocols and Declarations to which Nigeria is a party (but excluding the Land Use Act, and other legislation exempted by the Constitution), the Constitution must prevail, and to the extent of such inconsistency such other law must be regarded as void and of no effect. Notwithstanding its supremacy and superiority, the Constitution itself nevertheless has declared (in section 315(5)) and declared that “Nothing in this Constitution shall invalidate the following enactments, that is to say – … (d) the Land Use Act, and the provisions … shall continue to apply and have full effect … and to the like extent as any other provisions forming part of this Constitution and shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with the provisions of section 9 (2) of this Constitution”.. Accordingly, lawyers, politicians, and citizens still making reference to some ECOWAS or other protocol or treaty, to try to justify the non-existent purported right of livestock to freely roam streets of, graze on any lands in or occupy lands in parts of Nigeria, must allow this progressive position to sink into their heads.  While the validity of the provision of any law is determined by reference to the Constitution, the reverse is not the case (See: Madumere  v. Okwara (2013) LPELR-20752(SC), per NGWUTA ,J.S.C (p. 38, paras. A-D)). The effect of the concept of constitutional supremacy extends to all other laws, without any exception. All other laws are subordinate, and must bow, to constitutional supremacy (See KAYILI V. YILBUK (2015) LPELR-24323(SC) Per OGUNBIYI ,J.S.C ( pp. 33-34, paras. G-E; Marwa v. Nyako (2012) LPELR-7837(SC), per Adekeye, J.S.C (pp. 169-170, paras. B-F)]

With this in mind, it is easy to see why no man and no animal in Nigeria has any right to go on or to stay in another man’s land or forest reserves without that other’s permission? If anyone wants to graze or camp his cows/cattle on a piece of land or in a forest or to possess, make use of or occupy any land or forest within any state, that one has a legal obligation to formally apply (just like is being done by all non indigenes in Bauchi State, including those who have lived in Bauchi for over 150 years) to relevant authorities or other legally authorized persons, and to wait and fulfil all lawful conditions (such as prior registration or prior payment of consideration or some rent)  before entering upon the land. A citizen`s right to live and work in any part of Nigeria does not entitle the citizen to illegally grab, occupy, use or otherwise take another`s land, forest or other real property without the latter`s prior permission. It is criminal trespass for any citizen or resident of Nigeria leaving his own state and lands and forests, in the name of “castle-grazing” to unleash cattle/cows upon lands, forests and properties belonging to another or others, causing annoyance, destruction and mayhem. 

  1.   Farmer-Herdsmen Crisis is a Rule of Law Issue and May Only be Settled in Line with Rule of Law

In Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi V. INEC (2008) 1 SCNJ 1; (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) 227), P.O. ADEREMI, JSC had this counsel for all Nigerians: “in all countries of the world which subscribe to and operate under the rule of law, all actions of both private and public persons are always adapted to the laws of the land. We ought to allow this time-honoured principle to sink well into our heads and hearts.” The current writer`s earlier commentary on predominance of rule of law is respectfully considered apt here:

“The Black`s Law Dictionary defines rule of law as the doctrine that every person is subject to the ordinary law within the jurisdiction (Garner, B, In: Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed., Thomson Reuters, 2009) 1148). Rule of law is the predominance that is absolute of an ordinary law over every citizen and institution regardless of status, position, power. Much of the content of the rule of law can be summed up in two points, one of which is “that the people (including, one should add, the government) should be ruled by the law and obey it (Geoffrey de Q. Walker, The rule of law: foundation of constitutional democracy, (1st Ed., 1988). Rule of law requires that all persons and organizations including governments and government officials (such as Governors and the most senior judges)  are subject, and accountable to, ordinary laws of the land. On its part, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has repeatedly emphasized that “the Nigerian Constitution is founded on the rule of law, the primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to law. Nigeria, being one of the countries in the world which profess loudly to follow the rule of law, there is no room for the rule of self-help by force to operate” (Military Governor of Lagos State vs. Ojukwu (2001) FWLR (Part 50) 1779 at 1802 & 1799).  Also, as has been said, “the rule of law bakes no bread, it is unable to distribute loaves or fishes (it has none), and it cannot protect itself against external assault, but it remains the most civilized and least burdensome conception of a state yet to be devised.” (per Michael Joseph Oakeshott, English philosopher and political theorist (1901-1990).  Under a rule of law regime, in a constitutional democracy, justice must be done according to the dictates of rule of law and the constitution of the land, and not vice versa. Any violation of rule of law or the supremacy of the constitution is injustice or a desecration of justice. The case of AP v Owodunni (1991) LPELR-213(SC) further illustrates the principle that justice or injustice must be measured by the lens of what is consistent with law as laid down in a society”.

  1. Farmers-Herdsmen Clashes And The Law: Conclusion and Recommendations

Much of the discussion above better explains the foundation of the so-called farmers-herdsmen clashes in Nigeria — clashes that have led to mindless loss of the innocent lives of thousands of Nigerian citizens. It is suggested that cattle ranches and Rugas be immediately established in (only) the Nigerian States that have indicated interest in playing hosts to these, and let all manners of random movement and roaming of cows on streets, roads, farms and forests in communities of Nigeria, be immediately banned. Let’s do this and then sit back and watch and see how quickly insecurity would go down to its lowest low in Nigeria. Further, it is penitent at this juncture, and by way of conclusion, to pull up an excerpt from an earlier work to help drive the point further home

“[The question to ask is,] On whose land do the “farmer-herdsmen clashes” happen? If a fight breaks out between Ade and Okon in Ade’s house, the necessary reasonable presumption (albeit rebuttable) is that it was Okon that went to Ade’s compound to provoke or foment trouble. Why are we not addressing or seeing this issue that way? What are herdsmen doing in another man’s ancestral land, without the land owner’s prior approval? The proper, LEGAL approach is that the herdsmen should apply for grazing-land from the land owners. If the land owners give them land, so be it; if the land owners refuse, let the herdsmen carry their bags and cows and go back to their own states and land or, alternatively, stay back in the host states and do other legitimate businesses. This is the true meaning and interpretation of the constitutional right to “live and work in any part of Nigeria”. To “live and work” must be seen to mean “to be law-abiding and be not a bully nor a terror unto your host state”. The constitutional right of all Nigerians to live and work in any part of the country does not permit anyone to go on another’s land without that other’s permission. Look at the scenario below, for a clearer illustration of the point I try to make: ‘Okon, from Rivers State, is a farmer, producing yam, cassava, coco yam, etc, on his own (Okon’s) ancestral land. Ade, an indigene of Ogun State, is a livestock farmer (a herdsman) rearing cattle. Now, Ade takes his cows and travels to RIVERS State; goes on Okon’s land, and (without Okon’s knowledge or consent) begins to graze his cattle on Okon’s ancestral land and in the process, destroying Okon’s farms, crops, and lands. In reaction, Okon, frustrated after several warnings and pleadings, takes a stick or whatever and hits a cow. Then, Ade gathers/mobilizes fellow killer herdsmen and they attack Okon’s house and village, in the night, killing Okon’s kith and kin, destroying houses, properties and human lives. Then, the press/newspapers and governments tell us there was/is a farmer-herdsman clash’. The above scenario shows pure injustice against OKON and his people, and against OKON’s village and villagers. It is not a mere clash, neither is it a two-fighting scenario. It is pure terrorism. The herdsmen ought to be immediately cautioned to either acquire land legitimately for cattle-grazing in their host states, or to take their cows and go back to their own land. Until we adopt this approach to the so called “farmers-herders crises,” these problems might never end. Nigerians are tired of being killed as chicken and common animals by people who come on their lands illegally” (See: Udemezue, S., January 19, 2020. ‘Operation Amotekun & The Attorney-General’S Legal Advice: A Legal Opinion On The Way Out Of Nigeria’s Insecurity Logjam (Part 1)’. [online] Thenigerialawyer.com. Available at: <https://thenigerialawyer.com/extra-operation-amotekun-the-attorney-generals-legal-advice-a-legal-opinion-on-the-way-out-of-nigerias-insecurity-logjam-part-1-by-sylvester-udemezue/> [accessed 14 February 2021].  

Reactions are welcome to continue this discussion in the best interest of rule of law and of survival of our dear country. Kindly send a copy of your reaction to the author via WhatsApp or email, using any of the contact details set out below. May God Almighty help Nigeria!  

Respectfully, 

SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE (udems),

(08021365545, mrudems@yahoo.com).

 (14 February 2021)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *