Grazing Ground Bequest to Fulani Pastoralists by Any Governor in Southern Nigeria Is a Fundamental Breach of Trust & Therefore, Ultra Vires – Says LNC

Of the many constitutional  grievances of the Niger Delta and the rest of Southern Nigeria against the Nigerian state, the Land Use Decree of 1978, stands out as a very sore point, for by that decree, whatever was left of the ownership rights of the peoples of the territory from previous expropriation decrees which hijacked, seized and confiscated the oil/gas as well as the vast maritime assets, was sequestered from the traditional owners and warehoused with the governors ostensibly IN TRUST FOR THE PEOPLE.

It would be recalled that the said Land Use Decree of 1978 was fraudulently incorporated into the impregnable fortress of the 1979 Constitution and carried forward by General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Decree No 24 of 1999 to become the 1999 Constitution.

That decree, which was basically a transposition to the South of the Northern Nigerian feudal land tenure system in which all lands are vested in few oligarchs, (Emirs, Sultan and whatever other title by which those paramount rulers are described) who then dispense and allocate to their subjects as they deem fit.

Terrible as that 1978 Land Use Decree was, the semblance of safeguard which was written into it is the provision that the governor of the state, in whom title to all lands in the state is vested thenceforth, SHALL HOLD THE TITLE IN TRUST FOR THE PEOPLE in all dealings pertaining to the indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands.

It is against this background that we will interrogate the purported bequeathing of land by the governors of Southern Nigeria, to Fulani pastoralists, as “Grazing Grounds”.

First is to note that the Fulani in all their conducts towards the rest of Nigeria, especially the Eastern half of Southern Nigeria, had been generally most belligerent, adversarial and offensive, especially the recent escalations by the so-called “Fulani herdsmen” whose southward rampage has left a trail of killing, maiming, raping, plundering and the dislocation of whole populations.

Human blood spilled to secure and protect right of way for cattle herds

Scores of indigenes of Agatu LGA in Benue state recently fell victims to well-armed invading Fulani herdsmen militia who invaded the area in search of greener pastures for grazing & breeding their cattle herds.

It is, therefore, most shocking to imagine that anyone in Southern Nigeria, especially the democratically elected governors, whose primary responsibility is the security and welfare of their citizens, would even contemplate the grant of a permanent space by way of “Grazing Ground” to these roving Fulani tormentors of Southern Nigerian citizens, such lands being the ancestral lands of the same citizens already being tormented by the Fulani marauders tagged “herdsmen”.

Second and most important is the fact that those lands supposedly held in trust for the people, under the Land Use Act (same Land Use Decree), have not become the private property of the governors, to dispense as they deem fit, to whomsoever they wish.

When something is held in trust for a known principal or interest, (in this case of  the people and communities being the traditional owners of the ancestral lands ), the trustee (in this case the governor), who  without  authorization and in the face of vehement opposition and rejection of the principal (the land-owning people, community ), purports to bequeath such Lands to a stranger third party, (the Fulani cattle breeders), would be acting outside the boundaries of his mandate as a mere trustee, and in fundamental breach of the Trust.

Accordingly, such bequest would be ultra-vires of the powers of the governor-trustee and the grant would, at law, be a nullity.

The situation is compounded by the known disposition of the Fulani who have been on an undisguised southward mission of CONQUEST, DOMINATION and ISLAMIZATION, crushing whatever and whoever stand their way.

To now knowingly aid this bloody onslaught by way of granting permanent space in the name of “Grazing Ground” to this adverse force, in territories they seek to overrun, is heinous and sacrilegious on the part of whichever governor would do such a grant, no matter what flowery explanation. It simply translates to an act of aiding the enemy against one’s own people in a raging war.

The Lower Niger Congress (LNC) would have thought that all the governors of the Southern states would embrace the excellent, practical and effective example of the Government of Ekiti State which emplaced and rigorously enforces the law to restrict and minimize the deadly activities of the rogue so-called “Fulani herdsmen” in Ekiti State.

Failing to enact similar laws is bad enough. But granting “Grazing Grounds” to the Fulani, against the very loud express protestations of their own people, is simply an affront on the people which shall, sooner than later, attract far-reaching responses from an already restive populace.

Landmark occasion in annals of the Lower Niger Movement

Panoramic view of constituents of the Lower Niger converge at instance of the Lower Niger Congress (LNC) to ratify the scheduled 2017 Lower Niger Referendum & the Charter Drafting Committee

The LNC would urge an immediate halt and reversal, in cases where such grants have been made, as we hear is the situation in Bayelsa state. The LNC would also advise any other state in the eastern half of Southern Nigeria contemplating such a grant to perish the thought as the issues relating to such grants go to the heart of the sovereignty disputations that territory is embroiled in with the Caliphate-imposed Nigeria, defined by the fraudulent 1999 Constitution.

Issued this 11th Day of February 2017.

Tony Nnadi

Fred Agbeyegbe

For the Lower Niger Congress.