Senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial district and former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, said government owes it a duty to treat herdsmen the other citizens were being treated.
He spoke at a media parley with Senate Press Corps in Abuja on Monday, saying that the hullabaloo about herders in Nigeria were unnecessary given that they are also Nigerians and should be protected by government at various levels.
He lamented that herders because of their calling don’t enjoy infrastructure like good road, electricity, pipe borne water etc, yet their rights were being stampeded.
According to him, government should make funds available to herdsmen pursuing their legitimate business the same way businessmen across the country have access to funds from the national treasury.
He said: “This government has a duty like the way its treating businessmen in Alaba, Onitsha, Kano, and Port Harcourt to treat herdsmen too because they are Nigerians. These provisions are public funds. They are not from the private fund of any governor or senator. The funds are from the treasury of this country and every Nigerian has a stake in that treasury.
“So the government has a duty to find a wherewithal to make it possible for herdsmen not to go astray in the course of pursuing his legitimate duty.”
Abdullahi, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed disappointment at how governors are legislating on anti-open grazing law, saying that the right to movement of herders were being inhibited.
While reacting to questions on national issues, he added: “When I read the meeting of southern governors and the issue of open grazing and how they kicked against it and threatened to make law against it. I replied them in a manner that you recalled.
“I believe as governors, as members of the executive, operating in the different tier of government, they have a constitutional responsibility, the constitution upon which they take an oath of office.
“One of the fundamental rights there is every Nigerian, no exception. Every Nigerian has a right of free movement. Every Nigerian has a right to pursue a legitimate business. Right of association is enshrined in the constitution. You cannot under any pretence take away these rights.