Senator Gemade: Where Is the Law Permitting Free Passage for Fulani Herdsmen?

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…as Senate Rejects Report on Southern Kaduna Crisis
A furious Senator Barnabas Gemade Tuesday demanded for the law permitting Fulani herdsmen to operate freely in any part of the country or even parts of West Africa as claimed by proponents seeking the establishment or rerouting of the so called cattle routes in the country.
Senator Gemade (Benue) spoke at Senate plenary where the upper chamber rejected the report of the ad-hoc committee on the Southern Kaduna crisis presented by Senator Kabiru Gaya, a Fulani from Kano State.
“Where is that law that provided free assets of nomads in West Africa to go wherever they like, however they like and do whatever they like.
“These are issues we must deal with. We must come to a point where we are in total agreement of what is good for everybody,” he said.
The Senate on Tuesday, rejected the report of its Ad Hoc Committee on Southern Kaduna crisis over non-reflection of details and serious issues affecting the area.
The report was also turned down because it did not cover similar crises in other parts of the country as the committee was mandated.
The committee was mandated to cover all the states in the country, especially Zamfara, Kaduna, Benue, Enugu, Abia, Taraba, Nasarawa, Delta, Edo and Kano, that had recorded clashes.
But the committee visited only Kaduna and Zamfara.
The rejection came after the presentation of the report by Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, at plenary.
Gaya had told the senators that the committee recommended that those found wanting in the Kaduna crisis should be brought to book and that victims deserving compensation should be paid.
“The reason why we raised the recommendation is that most of the white papers produced during the last routine crises in Kaduna, none has been implemented,” he said.
He added that the committee also recommended that Kaduna State Government should collaborate with security agencies to embrace everybody irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations.
“They should also set up a committee to embrace dialogue for peace to reign within Kaduna South and Kaduna State.”
The lawmaker said this was very vital because there was a kind of communication gap between the government and the committee.
But reacting to the report, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that the committee identified only 10 states to visit, but that the crisis and the killings existed in more than 10 states.
“This Senate must accord this issue the seriousness it deserves. The report needs to be deeper than this; the recommendation needs to reflect more of the seriousness of the matter.
“They should be given more time to do more work on this so that they will be able to show to the whole world that this senate is serious about this matter.
“To say that we have to use money for “service wide vote’’ to address this matter shows our misunderstanding of the concept of “service wide vote’’. It is not a small fund, it is tied to specifics,” Ekeremadu said.
On his part, Sen. Baranabas Gemade (APC-Benue) said that the report was obviously an interim one.
According to him, it is very obvious that quite a lot of work that needed to be done to bring this report to a level that we will actually establish the seriousness of this problem has not been done.
“There are many aspects of insurgency and disturbance in these areas; there is the aspect of cattle rustling and nomads straying into farmlands, disturbing people,” he said.
On the recommendation of recreating cattle routes, Gemade said that there was the need to look at the fundamental requirements of our nationhood.
“Where is that law that provided free assets of nomads in West Africa to go wherever they like, however they like and do whatever they like.
“These are issues we must deal with. We must come to a point where we are in total agreement of what is good for everybody,” he said.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that there were many other parts of the country with similar issues as Kaduna South that the committee’ report did not cover.
“The seriousness of the matter deserves in-depth and detailed recommendations,” he said.
Saraki, therefore, urged the committee to address some of the observations and report back.
Meanwhile, the Senate adjourned sitting to April 25 for the Easter holiday.

NAN

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