17 Southern governors ban open cattle grazing.
After individual attempts to address menace of open grazing in Southern states, the Forum of Southern Governors in one voice, yesterday, announced a ban on open grazing in all the 17 Southern states. They recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency and importance, address Nigerians on the frightening state of insecurity across the nation and convoke a national dialogue.
The governors, who were united by their resolve to make Nigeria work, did not betray partisan sentiments, but agreed among other issues that the President address Nigerians to restore the people’s confidence.
Of the 17 southern states, 13 governors were in attendance at the meeting. They are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).
Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), and Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom states were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.
In a resolution after the meeting, the forum explained rationale for the ban on open grazing, stressing that, “development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South, including cattle movement to the South by foot.”
The Guardian learnt that the governors collectively identified the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country as being at the root of the “severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives in the region.
In a 12-point communiqué read by the Forum’s Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, at the end of its four hours meeting, the Southern Governors expressed displeasure with the worsening state of insecurity and noted that the situation revolves around agitations over restructuring, but affirmed that that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria.
The governors stressed that the unity of the country should be “on the basis of justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
“The progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian federation to berth evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions, which legitimately advance commitment to and practice of true federalism.