By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has expressed pleasure that the administrative committee set up by the government to investigate lands dispute in the 20 LGAs of the state didn’t recommend for the removal of any traditional ruler.
He said, “As it is, I didn’t read the recommendations, I don’t think there is any recommendation that what the committee has done has gone too far to say that one emir or one district head should be removed, is there any, no, so it’s just putting square pegs in square holes, so blames where should be blame, and we know what to do as a government”.
The Governor who was speaking while receiving the report of an administrative committee of inquire into lands dispute across the state, stated “We have no malice against anybody irrespective of his/her status, anything we do in life, we get a sense of fulfillment if it is going to add value to the community, the people and even to ourselves”.
Senator Bala Mohammed said however that there is no sacred cow in the services of the state, expressing delight with the committee report coming from professionals and patriotic who have put so much to make sure that the lingering problems between farmers and herders are resolved.
He noted with concern that the 1976 Dasuki report on Local Government Administration made the traditional institution redundant with virtually all the responsibilities apportioned to the traditional rulers transferred to local authorities.
The governor also observed the committee has highlighted problems in some critical areas in some of the LGAs, saying “We are not blaming anybody but would certainly look at the problems and challenges with a view to solving them”.
He described as shame at this century when our forefathers have done so much to establish the cattle routes with beacons and coordinates, and established the forest reserves to provide sustenance for us but unfortunately this sustainability has been destroyed.
“So this kleptomania, this attitude that is so terrible must be reverse and I find fellow heroes in you in this journey where we must be able to look into our problems and challenges and resolve them”, he told the committee members.
He assured that the state government would sit down with all humility and responsibility to look into the committee’s report with a view to coming with a while paper on it, and an implementation committee that would re-establish the cattle routes and re-acquired those lands illegally taken away by some citizens.
The Committee chairman, Surveyor Yahya Baba has earlier noted that farmers/herders clashes are great threat to the security of the state which calls for thorough investigation, hence the need for the setting up of the committee need not be emphasized.
He told Bala Mohammed, “You are the first Governor, be it military or democratically elected in the history of Bauchi state since its creation in 1976 to come out with an initiative of such nature. You are indeed a real peace-maker who took the bull by its horn in addressing this issue”.
Surveyor Baba explained that the committee interacted and visited all stakeholders in all the 20 LGAs of the state including technical inspection of all identified problem areas for in-depth analyses, as it received over 1, 000 petitions, complaints and memoranda, as well as hearing sections with all complainants during the assignment.
“Our visits, inspections, discussions, analyses, and findings have made great revelations, for instance, most traditional title holders, Local Government staff and other influential citizens are deeply involved in the illegal allocation, sales or leasing of lands that are either forests, grazing reserves or cattle routes
He revealed that large acreages of lands were allocated to companies and individuals, especially in Alkaleri, Toro, Itas/Gadau, Ningi, Misau, as well as illegal sale of lands to illegal immigrants into the state following the insecurity pervading the Northwestern states, and the forcing of farmers uphills .
Baba therefore expressed optimism that the state government will find the committee’s report including its recommendations useful in bringing sustainable peace between farmers and herders in the state, and acknowledged the confidence of members in justifying the responsibility assigned them.