A 21- member administrative committee of inquiry to forestall violent clashes between herders and farmers which have led to many deaths, injuries, and destruction of properties in Bauchi State to be chaired by Alhaji Yahaya Baba has been inaugurated by the state Governor, Bala Mohammed.
The development is the sequel to a land dispute between herdsmen and farmers in villages of Misau LGA of the state that led the death of nine persons while others were injured culminating in the suspension of the Emir of Misau, Alh Ahmed Suleiman and other traditional rulers in the area.
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While Speaking shortly after the inauguration which was held at Banquet Hall of the Government House on Wednesday, Bala observed that the clashes between the herders and farmers were caused by illegal allocations of land in local government areas across the State with convincing of some prominent individuals for their selfish interests.
The Governor reiterated that his government will ensure that citizens’ safety and well-being was paramount and hence the imperative to set up the powerful all-encompassing committee involving all the departments.
He said, “It will be recalled that on Monday 29 June 2020, we woke up with the sad news of an unfortunate clash between herders and farmers in Zadawa ward in the Hardawa district of Misau local government in the state. As a responsive government, we summon stakeholders meeting in the state and we took proactive measures in dealing with the situation.”
Bala added that “Subsequently, a committee was set up that is investigating the root cause of that unfortunate happening in Misau alone. I want to assure the good people of Bauchi state that the government will not tolerate similar occurrences as any person or group of persons found to be involved directly or indirectly in causing these types of clashes will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land”.
Bala also said that the administration would not fold its hands and therefore it becomes imperative to set up a larger and powerful committee that is all-encompassing involving all the departments, “that have to do with managing our lands and forests and local authorities throughout the Local Government areas to identify similar problems and challenges in order to address them holistically.”
“It is in view of the foregoing and in the exercise pf the power confers on me by laws Cap 25 Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963 as applicable to Bauchi State in section 33 of the Laws of Bauchi State 1991 and all relevant laws that I set up this administrative committee of inquiry into a land dispute between herders and farmers cause d by land use abuse, illegal allocation, in local government areas across Bauchi State.” He added.
Turning to the members of the panel, Bala said, “Let me make it clear that the decision to appoint you to serve in this committee was informed by your track record of sincerity, fairness, Justice, commitment at work and above all fear of Allah. I will, therefore, like to urge you to once again justify the confidence impose in you by effectively carrying out this assignment without fear and favour. You must be transparent, focus, resourceful ion the execution of this onerous assignment”.
The terms of reference for the committee, which has been given four weeks to submit its reports include visiting all the 20 local government areas particularly government reserves forests in the state with a view to ascertaining their sanctity or otherwise.
Other terms include to investigate and determine if such government reserves areas are being illegally allocated by unauthorised persons or group of persons and those persons who are beneficiaries of such illegal allocation and to determine the person or authority directly or indirectly involved in such an illegal allocation of a portion of government reserves areas or cattle route.
The panel is To also determine all cattle routes within and outside the government reserves and identify an area of the portion of encroachment by farmers as well as To make recommendations on measures to be taken in order to establish the cattle routes and forests reserves as well as prevent heders-farmers conflicts in the state.
It is To make any other recommendations that will promote the permanent solution of herders- farmers clashes across the state especially with regards to land allocation and right of passage looking at all the practices and procedures of the laws established by states like Jigawa so that there won’t be any room for clash or land speculation.
Chairman of the Committee, Yahaya Baba assured the Governor that the Committee will do its work diligently without bias but in line with the terms of reference in order to ensure fairness and objectivity.