BY ADEYEMI AKANJI, BAUCHI – Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has declared that his administration would not allow the State to be turned into a sanctuary for crimes and criminality as it is the case in some of the states in the North-West geo-political zone of the country.
This is as the governor noted that discrepancies in land allocation and usurpation of passage on land earmarked for the Fulani herdsmen have been the monster bedeviling Nigerians’ common heritage and existence as a state thereby resulting in violent clashes that have claimed innocent lives.
Mohammed, who stated these while inaugurating an Administrative Commission of Inquiry into “Land Disputes Between Herders and Farmers” caused by Land use abuse and illegal allocation in the state, urged the committee members to see their assignment as the remedy to all the banditry and criminality that have been bedeviling the people, especially forces and bad practices that are forcing farmers and Fulani in the village into banditry and criminality.
The Governor noted that such forces and bad practices have been the cause forcing common farmers and Fulani herders in the villages into banditry and criminality because their primary way of life has been defrauded by sharp practices of the sọ-called leaders.
Mohammed said; “We must not allow our state to be a sanctuary for criminality, we know what is happening in other places like Zamfara and Katsina states and such unwholesome attitudes by the authorities, traditional institutions and even public servants and politicians are behind all these.
“Any person or group of persons found to be directly or indirectly involved in causing such type of clash will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.
“As a government that has the safety and well-being of its people at heart, we will not fold our arms, and therefore it become imperative to set up this larger and powerful committee that is all embracing involving all departments and agencies that has got to do with management of our lands and forests in the Local Government Areas of the state to look at similar problems and challenges in order to address them holistically,” he said.
He said that part of the terms of reference of the committee include to visit all the 20 LGAs, particularly government’s reserve forests with a view ascertain their sanctity or otherwise, to investigate and determine if such government’s reserved areas are being illegally allocated by unauthorized persons or group of persons, and to idetified persons who are beneficiaries of such illegal allocations.
The committee is also to determine the person (s) or authority directly or indirectly involved in such illegal allocation of the portion of government’s reserved areas or cattle routes, to determine all cattle routes within and outside the forests reserved and identify areas or portion of encroachment by farmers and to make recommendations on measures to be taken in order to establish the cattle routes and forests reserved, as well as prevent herders and farmers conflict in the state among others.
The 25-member committee which is comprised of Chairman of Cattle Breeders Association and Chairman Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Association and Women representative, is headed by a former Director-General of Lands and Survey, Alhaji Yahya Baba with representations from Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Lands and Survey Ministries.
Others on the committee included representatives from Boundaries Commission, Environment and Housing, Commissioner of police – Bauchi State Command, Department of Security Services, NSCDC, Sarkin Dajin Bauchi- Alhaji Rufa’i Mohammed, former Surveyor General Aliyu Gital, while Hamisu Mohammed Kusa is to serve as Secretary.