The Presidency has berated the decision of the Southern Governors to effect a ban on open grazing in the entire southern part of the country.
This was contained in a statement issued on Monday, May 24, by the Presidency Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to Shehu, the Governors have failed to provide any solution to the lingering crisis between farmers and herders in the country.
“It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their (the Governors’) resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in our country for generations,” the Presidency said.
Shehu added, “But the citizens of the Southern States – indeed citizens of all States of Nigeria – have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: “not in my State”.
1st News had reported that the Southern Governors resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region following a meeting held on May 11 in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
They had called for the restructuring of the country along with fiscal federalism; devolution of powers, and state police, as well as asked President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a national dialogue to address the agitations by various groups in the region.
However, the Presidency stated that the President has expressed a strong resolve; to address the conflicts of herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner.
This would lead to the emergence of a permanent solution to the frequent clashes between both parties; as well as the associated problem of the gun-wielding killer herdsmen, Shehu noted.
He stated that President Buhari signed off on the report in April; accusing the Southern Governors of acts of politicking; intended to demonstrate their power by banning open grazing in their various States.
According to Shehu, the ban on open grazing is of questionable legality; given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms; within every one of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); regardless of the State of their birth or residence.
“Fortunately, this declaration has been pre-empted, for whatever it is intended to achieve; and Mr President, who has rightly been worried about these problems more than any other citizen in consultation with farmers and herders alike; commissioned and approved an actionable plan of rehabilitating grazing reserves in the States; starting with those that are truly committed to the solution and compliant with stated requirements.
“With veterinary clinics; water points for animals; and facilities for herders and their families; including schooling – through these rehabilitated reserves; the Federal Government is making far-reaching and practical changes; allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side: supporting farmers to till their fields; herders to rear their livestock; and Nigerians everywhere to be safe,” he said.