Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina has said that people own lands only when they are alive.
Adesina said this in connection to the challenge being faced by the government in acquiring land to build ranches for Fulani herdsmen.
Responding to a question on ancestral attachments to land on AIT programme, Adesina said, “Ancestral attachment? You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, how does the attachment matter?”
Adesina further stated that it was wrong to describe the attacks on farmers as one directed against Christians.
He added, “Hundreds have been killed in Zamfara, are they Christians? People have been killed in Birnin Gwari, are they Christians?
“What is happening is criminality, pure and simple, and it must be brought to an end. Government has a big role to play in this but the people themselves have a role to play.”
He said that there was a campaign to stop the implementation of the administration’s plans to check the farmers-herders conflict.
According to him, “Some people are saying don’t use government money to build ranches. If truly they don’t have lands, that is fine, but remember that Kogi State offered 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony and in the midst of that offer vicious attacks were unleashed.
“In Plateau State, where we had the recent orgy of killings, the government has offered land for ranches and I tell you that some people are interested in this thing not being resolved.”
“The National Economic Council that recommended ranching didn’t just legislate it, there were recommendations.
“So, if your state genuinely does not have land for ranching, it is understandable; not every state will have land for ranches. But where you have land and you can do something, please do for peace.
“What will the land be used for if those who own it are dead at the end of the day?”
The presidential aide further said the administration was doing its best to ensure peace throughout the country.
He added, “There are different theatres of crisis in the country and you may look at each theatre with its peculiarities. In the Middle Belt, it has its own peculiarities and what is the peculiarity- farmers-Herders conflict. What has the government done?”
It has sent in security agencies starting with the police, later troops, later different operations by the military,” he said.