Afenifere group urges states to reject LG autonomy, says proposal favours herdsmen

Cattle on farm [Photo: View Point Nigeria]
Cattle on farm [Photo: View Point Nigeria]

A Yoruba organisation, Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has said the local autonomy proposed in the Constitution Review Bill by the National Assembly has “hidden traps” set to benefit Fulani herdsmen.

The National Assembly had last week passed two bills to alter the constitution to abrogate State-LG joint account and guarantee funding only for democratically constituted local government councils.

The proposals now require affirmation of at least 24 of 36 Houses of Assembly of Nigeria’s States and assent of the President to be constitutional.

But while many Nigerians have hailed the proposals as steps towards ensuring independence of the local governments, the ARG raised alarm, asking states to reject the proposals, in a statement on Sunday, by its spokesperson, Kunle Famoriyo.

The ARG alleged link between the retention of Land Use Act in the Constitution and proposals to grant the LGAs autonomy.

“There are traps hidden in the Land Use Act which the National Assembly cleverly refused to remove from the Constitution,” said the Yoruba sociocultural group.

It continued: “As an example, Section 6(1)(b) says that ‘(1) It shall be lawful for a Local Government in respect of land not in an urban area…to grant customary right of occupancy to any person or organisation for the use of land for grazing purposes and such other purposes ancillary to agricultural purposes…’ The customary right of occupancy can be as much as 500 hectares if granted for agricultural purposes, or 5,000 hectares if granted for grazing purposes.

“The main reason for the push to remove LGA from under the control of state governments is to make this clause in the Land Use Act enforceable. The so-called autonomy therefore is a “Greek Gift” and states with recent history of herdsmen attack had better collaborate with other states to reject it. ARG will work with states in the southwest to totally agitate against it.

“The advocates of autonomy for LGAs need to convince Nigerians of the benefit of such, despite the glaring fact that it is an aberration in any federalism and it works against development. If Nigeria is yet to get the possible maximum good governance from 36 executive powers granted to states, what will creating additional 774 executive powers bring? Total waste and failure.”

The ARG added that the proposals, if successful, would run counter to the spirit of federalism and worsen the LGAs.

“This plan will further destroy federalism in Nigeria and turn it effectively into a unitary state. However, we must remind Nigerians that there is nothing the federal government has taken over, since the enactment of the Unification Decree 34 of 1966, that has flourished.

“As example, the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan was already hosting international boxing fight before it was taken over. Today, it cannot even host national championships. In the same vein are WNTV, Obafemi Awolowo University, Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), Moore Plantation and many other notable institutions.

“We can assure you that LGAs will be worse off if this so-called autonomy is allowed to pass. This is because those controlling Abuja have no better plan for the country other than as a conquest. ARG warns all state Houses of Assembly to resist this legislation,” said the ARG.


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  • Gary

    Chei…so this is how they want to introduce Grazing Reserves across the country through the back door? Nice try.
    The creation of local governments and their funding should be reserved for the states and not the Federal government.
    The State Assemblies in the SS, SE, SW and the MB must band together to reject this amendment. Or watch the Fulani-dominated LGs in their regions give out their lands to the Fulani marauders and their cattle.

  • marcos avelino

    Fools living and dreaming in the past Awo this Awo that wake up to the new reality. Whe awo was there yr population as less than a quarter of todays. Most people were then rural simple folk. Wake up please wake up from your silly comparisons and flawed logic

  • Fairgame

    I applaud this group for sounding this alarm. These evil Fulani in power and their herdsmen will never take over lands in the south. God forbid

  • Mentus

    It beggars belief that of all the mega problems including poor performance ratings in economy, health, education, infrastructure, security etc all that this government is pushing hard for is to make the whole of Nigeria a grazing field for the Fulanis of Africa.
    And somebody wants us to believe there is no Islamisation agenda.
    Land is precious to Southerners and is often the cause of dispute even within families, add to the equation the Fulani herdsmen taking over thousands of hectares of their land for grazing when families don’t even have enough to build family homes, you have a recipe for endless disputes and loss of lives.
    I hope that for once the law makers will think of their electorates and vote against this bill.
    At this time there is a clamour for restructuring, for Abuja to relinquish some powers to the states, they are fighting to gain a stranglehold even on local authorities for their Agenda.
    God save Nigeria.

  • Dazmillion

    I was shocked beyond believe when I read the constitution and discovered it was an Islamic document.

  • AryLoyds

    The present constitution is a tissue paper! You cannot amend garbage, just let the Fulanis can keep the their constitution so that regions can have their own constitution

  • emmanuel

    The Arid North does not want Restructuring or new constitution because of all booby traps inherent in the lousy document called 1999 Constitution. This is one of the many albatross of the South.
    Head or tail, they benefit immensely and alone from the constitution.
    Example, Kano state receive as much as River state in Federal allocation, because the fake Local Governments created were done to collect additional allocations, more then the Southern States.
    They now want to use Local Government autonomy to collect Southern lands (the last Othman Dan Fodio drive). When they have achieved that, then they would insist the autonomy did not work and it should revert back to joint account.
    Buyers beware!

  • George

    I hate Yorubas but this timely warning shows there are few good element over there.

    When people said Saraki took Senate chairmanship without Buhari knowledge I just laugh at them because Buhari preferred anything Saraki than 20-Tinubu’s.

    Grazing by trick won’t work.

    • Mubarak Mohammed

      Good as you admitted you hate yoruba with passion. Your hatred for yoruba will definitely send you to your untimely death. Haters will forever be restless and depression would be your lot base on that.

    • Owejah

      I want to plead with you in the name of everything sacred, stop hating your fellow human being! Though a few people will give you some up votes for sounding so heroic about your hatred, the reality is that hating your fellow man does little to uplift you before man and God. What is more, our place of birth is an accident of history; you could have been born a Yoruba yourself. Of all human activities that have no gain, hatred is supreme. A spiteful spirit is like a chemical substance that does a great deal more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than the
      object on which it is poured. If you want to be miserable, hate somebody intensely from the heart!

      As a matter of fact, The Holy Book in Leviticus 19:17 says in part: “Thou shalt not hate …” and 1 John 3:15 says: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” The Almighty God is always on the side of the hated. Go back to the scripture to see how hatred has brought incredible glory, magnificence and exaltations to victims of hatred all through history. Jacob hated Leah and loved Rachael instead, but God blessed Leah. Joseph’s brothers hated him, but God glorified Joseph beyond anyone’s
      wildest imagination. Hannah was hated by Peninnah but God loved Hannah. Jephtah’s kindred hated him but the Lord of Hosts gave him victory. Saul hated David, the rest is history; I can go on, and on, and on…

      Dear brother George, God has not changed and is not about to change. What will you say to your Creator on judgment day when such considerations like tribe or place of birth will no longer count?

      Even then, regardless of what the Holy Bible says, the practical reality is that to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. You are blessed Brother George!