• Decision consistent with constitution, govt reacts
The running mate to the late candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 21 and December 5, 2015 governorship polls in Kogi State, James Faleke, berated Governor Yahaya Bello for buying into the proposed cattle colony policy of the Federal Government without allegedly consulting widely.
The House of Representatives member advised the governor against running the state like a personal estate, just as he urged him to convoke a stakeholders’ meeting on herdsmen/farmers’ clashes.
In a telephone interview with The Guardian in Lokoja noted that herdsmen and the indigenes had been co-existing peacefully over the years except for few skirmishes in the eastern senatorial district of the state. He said: “So taking a unilateral decision about colonies was wrong when he should know that the land belongs to families and ancestral lineages. You cannot take over land by fiat without the people’s willingness. Such move would fester the crisis.
“If you want to cede a particular land just for peace to reign, I think it should be done it in a way that everybody is carried along. A situation whereby the greater percentage of the people are farmers, taking away their land will pose danger to their survival.”
Faleke alleged that the clashes at the senatorial district in question were yet to be resolved by the governor. The criticism followed the governor’s recent pronouncement on the proposal at an event where invited herdsmen nationwide to come do business in the state without providing for an expanded grazing land.
Other stakeholders have also flayed the governor for embracing a policy whose modus operandi was yet to be unveiled by the Federal Government to allow for its thorough understanding.
But the Director General, Bureau of Information Abdulmalik Abdulkareem, said his boss was quoted out of context.He maintained that the governor’s position was in consonance with the constitution, adding that when herders are incorporated into the traditional council as well as the local and state councils, it would produce a template where criminal elements could be apprehended with the help of the Fulani leaders.