From Willie Etim, Port Harcourt
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that he has no constitutional power to unilaterally create cattle colony in any part of the country.
Buhari stated that the authority to release land for any purpose is constitutionally vested in state governors and local government chairmen.
The President made the clarification on Sunday at the South-South Zonal meeting of the National Committee of the Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The President said that under the Land Use Act of 1978, he lacks the constitutional power to create cattle colony in any part of the country.
Only last Thursday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had warned against illegal seizure of land in the federation for cattle colony without complying with the constitutional provisions.
Osinbajo told participants at a security summit organised by the Senate that the Federal Government would not force any state to release land for the proposed cattle colony, pointing out that cattle ranching is more economically viable than the former.
Represented at the Port Harcourt event by his Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, Buhari said that provisions of the Land Use Act gave powers to state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domain.
He said that when Nigeria was one region or state, even before the country was formed; a�?we had cattle routes running from Chad, Niger Republic and down to the Atlantic Ocean. When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions.
“When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state, the Land Use Act was made. Under the Land Use Act, the President has power to control lands in Abuja only.
“Under the Land Use Act, each state governor, under Section 2 of the Land Use Act, lands in urban areas of each of the states of the federation is vested on the governor. Now, subsection 1(2b) says land in the rural areas is vested on the local government chairman of that area,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the President said that the Federal Government is committed to laying foundations upon which an equitable and progressive society can be built, where all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potential without let or hindrance.
The President stated that the commitment of his administration to laying the foundation informed his actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the land.
He said: “As a government, we are committed to laying the foundation upon which an equitable and a progressive society can be built, in which all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potential without let or hindrance.
“This informed our actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, gradually but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the land.
“While it is still work-in-progress, we are confident that the amount of work done in the first 32 months of this administration points to a new solid foundation for building the Nigeria of our dreams.
“Not only did we ease out of an inevitable recession in record time, our revenue profile, our foreign reserves and foreign investments are all on the rise again; and we have paid mobilised contractors back to project sites across the country, including the South-South Zone,” he said.
In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, has said that Buhari has proven to the people of South-South and South East geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.
Nwuke, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), described the President as a Niger Delta brand for the 2019 presidential election.
From Willie Etim, Port Harcourt