The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has advised those kicking against the Federal Government’s ranching policy to have a rethink, telling them that yielding their land for cattle ranching trumps the killing of natives through the persisting conflicts.
Speaking on AIT breakfast programme in response to a question on ancestral attachments to land, he said: “You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, how does the attachment matter?
“The National Economic Council that recommended ranching didn’t just legislate it, there were recommendations.
“So, if your state genuinely does not have land for ranching, it is understandable; not every state will have land for ranches. But where you have land and you can do something, please do for peace. What will the land be used for if those who own it are dead at the end of the day?”
The presidential spokesman however claimed that there was a conspiracy by critics of the Buhari administration to frustrate moves towards resolving the crisis in the country, insisting that it was wrong to describe the attacks against farmers as targeted at Christians.
According to him, “Hundreds have been killed in Zamfara, are they Christians? People have been killed in Birnin Gwari, are they Christians?
“What is happening is criminality, pure and simple, and it must be brought to an end. Government has a big role to play in this but the people themselves have a role to play.”
Noting what he described as a campaign to stop the implementation of the administration’s plans to check the farmers-herders conflict, Adesina said: “Some people are saying don’t use government money to build ranches. If truly they don’t have lands, that is fine, but remember that Kogi State offered 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony and in the midst of that offer vicious attacks were unleashed.
“In Plateau State, where we had the recent orgy of killings, the government has offered land for ranches and I tell you that some people are interested in this thing not being resolved.”