The resolve by the 17 Southern States of Nigeria to ban open cattle grazing in their domain as a measure to tackle the worsening insecurity in the region and the entire country is gaining more support.
This is as members of the minority parties from the 19 Northern States in the House of Representatives have thrown their weight behind that move and restructuring of the country.
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The Southern Governors Forum had in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, at the end of its meeting in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday prohibited opening grazing which according to the group was a high-security risk factor.
“The forum observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits in the southern part of the country has created a severe security challenge, such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives, including pursuing various productive activities, leading to threats to food supply and general security. Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across southern Nigeria”, the communique read in parts.
Backing the resolution of the Southern Governors, the Northern Minority lawmakers in the Green Chamber said the decision was apt and the only solution to the growing insecurity and general discontent among ethnic nationalities in the country
The position of the caucus was contained in a statement on Thursday in Abuja signed on its behalf by Amos Gwamna (Kaduna), Rt Hon Solomon Maren (Plateau), Rimande Shawulu (Taraba), Mark Gbillah (Benue), Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi) and Usman Sokodabo (FCT).
The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the call of the Southern Governors and immediately commence the process of restructuring and enact a national law against open grazing.
“We, members of the Minority from the North hereby call on President Buhari to heed the genuine advice of governors from the south and immediately address the nation to assuage frayed nerves.
“The President should also put machinery in place for the commencement of the process of restructuring the nation and initiate legislation to end open grazing, which has been at the centre of the lingering insecurity across the nation.
“In order to regain the confidence of a majority of Nigerians, the president must begin to redress his skewed appointments, which have unfortunately divided the nation along ethnic and religious lines”, the group noted.
The Caucus said it is happy that the southern governors have finally come to terms with the negative effects of open grazing, which states in the north-central and other parts of the north have been battling with for decades.
“We commend the governors for taking the bold move to speak against open grazing and other ills bedevilling the nation. Benue state had the foresight and enacted a law banning open grazing and was closely followed by Taraba state.
“Unfortunately, these states have not gotten the desired support from the federal government thereby creating room for some elements to undermine the implementation of the law.
“It is disheartening that in the 21st century, Nigeria still allows pastoralists to move with cattle on foot. This is an anachronistic and archaic practice that has been phased out in all civilised societies and Nigeria must not be left out in endorsing ranching and modern farming techniques”, the statement read in parts.