…As Miyetti Allah Slams Ban On Open Grazing as An Empty Policy Southern Senators and members of the House Representatives, have commended Governors from the region for taking a firm and bold position on burning national issues, including devolution of powers, state police and banning of open grazing of cattle across the southern states. The
…As Miyetti Allah Slams Ban On Open Grazing as An Empty Policy
Southern Senators and members of the House Representatives, have commended Governors from the region for taking a firm and bold position on burning national issues, including devolution of powers, state police and banning of open grazing of cattle across the southern states. The Governors’ stance however expectedly elicited cold embrace from the cattle breeders’ umbrella organisation, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore which describes them as “confused and mischievous”. It also knocks the ban on open grazing as an “empty policy”.
Under the aegis of the Southern Senators Forum (SSF), the Senators submitted that such deft and unanimous policy would help in reining in those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.
The Southern Governors Forum (SGF), had at its meeting in Asaba, Delta State capital, on Tuesday, unanimously resolve to prohibit open grazing in the region to checkmate herders-farmers clashes and incessant cases of kidnapping, raping of women as well as killings of Nigerian citizens of southern extraction.
A statement jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Secretary General and Publicity Secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti), Mathew Uroghide (Edo) and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu), respectively and made available to journalists in Abuja and Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, appaluded the step taken by the Governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands, kidnappings and carnages .
The Senators lamented how the Southern farmers were losing hundreds of millions of Naira to plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity.
They said: “At this critical point of our national life when the economy was being bedeviled by galloping inflation, youth unemployment and insecurity, food security is very crucial to mitigate the effects of these diverse evils on the citizens.
“Available records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders.
“Most appalling were the seemingly unabated kidnapping, raping and killing of our people by suspected herdsmen, who have become bandits heating up the system.
“With this uniform resolve by our Governors to initiate no-open grazing policy, the region will return to its peaceful and agriculturally self -sufficient status it had assumed even long before Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914”.
While saluting the Governors for their stance on restructuring of the highly lopsided Nigerian nation, the senators say this will also help to remove the venom that had permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country.
The SSF leaders stated that ushering of equality, equity and justice in the way the country is being run will wipe out ethnic tension, restore peace and stability and ward off agitations for secession that are now gaining tractions across the land.
Finally, the Southern Senators Forum ask the Governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working with the two arms of the parliament to ensure that their well articulated positions on the state of the nation, especially as relate to restructuring, State policing and the jettisoning of archaic traditional grazing methods, which fall short of global best practice standard and a potential threat to our national cohesion and peace, are thoroughly and decisively addressed through the ongoing constitutional review exercise.
Following on the heels of the senators, members of the House of Representatives from the 17 southern states of the federation, after due considerations, also unanimously supported the resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum on the demand for true federalism, restructuring as well as the worsening insecurity in the country, among others.
“This position is in firm restatement of our insistence that our nation must exist and governed on the platform of democratic tenets of social justice, equity, fairness, mutual respect, true federalism, rule of law and constitutional order, and we are ready to deploy all legislative instruments at our disposal for actualization.
“Against this backdrop, the members of the House of Representatives from the South, without regard to any other affiliations, firmly support our Governors on the immediate ban on open cattle grazing across the Southern Nigeria.
“We hold that such is a sure step towards checking the infiltration of bandits, armed herders and terrorist elements which has heightened security challenges with escalated killings and bloody attacks on innocent citizens, while crippling social life, economic activities and food production in the region.
“We therefore support the recommendation that the federal government should provide alternative and modern livestock management that does not constitute a security and economic challenge to the nation,” the statement by the lawmakers said.
The Southern members in the House of Representatives also averred that they support “our Governor’s restatement of the demand for true federalism through restructuring that will lead to the devolution of power, creation of state police, review of resource control and revenue allocation formula, as well as strict adherence to federal character principle in federal appointments in the shared interests of the federating states.
“As lawmakers, we affirm that such is the only guaranteed way to ensure fairness, justice, equity to engender national stability, productivity and peaceful co-existence and we support an urgent national dialogue in that regard.
“We caution certain individuals kicking against such devolution of power and review of revenue control and allocation formula, to desist from their vested parochial interest and note that such reviews are the only way to stabilize our nation and engender regional or state productivity and healthy development at all levels.
“Furthermore, our platform commends our Governors for the concern for the asphyxiation of economic activities in the Southern Nigeria resulting from the continued congestion in ports in Lagos and the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“This challenge has led to losses in billions of naira to businesses and other economic activities in the industrial and commercial activities of not only in the Southern Nigeria but the nation at large.
“We therefore firmly back the demand for the establishment and activation of other ports in other states of the federation, particularly in the south where such services are in very high demand.
“As lawmaker, our platform assures of our readiness to deploy our legislative instruments to ensure speedy achievement of the reforms and constitutional amendments that will guarantee a restructuring towards the practice of true federalism in our country and we are rallying our colleagues from other parts of the country in this direction.
“We urge all Nigerians to see the larger picture and ensure that all hands are on the deck to move our nation to the right direction.
“Our platform applauds our Governors for their patriotism and courage while commending Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for hosting his colleagues in their quest for solutions at this critical time in our nation’s history,” the statement added.
PANDEF Lauded Resolutions
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has also lauded the 12 point resolutions by the South Governors.
Reacting to the issues raised, the National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon. Ken Robinson, in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said the Governors did well by meeting although it was long overdue.
He said the declaration of a ban to open grazing in Southern states was apt, noting that the practice was already outdated.
“With the goings-on in the country, we had expected them to meet before now, but it is a good thing that they have met,” he said.
“This would not only foster cooperation among the Governors and people of the southern states but also strengthen the nation’s democracy.
“Their resolutions re-emphasised our positions, particularly, on restructuring, open grazing, and the alarming state of insecurity.”
Robinson added: “PANDEF has repeatedly said that open grazing was outdated and should not be allowed to continue in a society like ours today.
“Those who are involved in the business should realize this and employ other ways of doing the business as it is done in other developed or developing countries.
The days of open grazing are over and the sooner those who are in that business realize it, the better for all of us.”
The PANDEF chieftain expressed regrets that the people of the South live their lives in fear, adding that it was pleasing and reassuring that the Governors touched on all the matters affecting the people.
He said: “Citizens now live in fear and are no longer able to freely pursue various livelihoods, across the country, due to the security situation.
“The Governors also accentuated the issue of skewed appointments into Federal Government agencies, include security agencies.
“Recall that PANDEF National leader, Chief Edwin Clark, and 15 other prominent Nigerians are in Court with the Mr. President, over the serial breaches of the federal character in appointments by this administration.
“It is therefore pleasing and reassuring that the Governors discussed these issues at their meeting and made those far-reaching resolutions.
“The positions they have taken are in tandem with the thoughts and expectations of the people of Southern Nigeria.
So, PANDEF commends them for the elaborate decisions reached. ‘Kudos’ to the Southern Governors.”
Open Grazing is not the problem
However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, has faulted the decision of Southern Governors to ban open grazing of cattle.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, Ndume, who represents Borno South in the Senate, said Nigeria’s security problems is not about open grazing.
The issue of insecurity, he argued, is unique to each geopolitical zone.
The lawmaker said: “The Governors are deviating from the matter. The problem is not about open grazing. The problem is security.
Most of the insecurity problems confronting Nigeria is not in the bush.
“We have four different types of security challenges.
We have the insurgency in the North East, IPOB through the Eastern Security Network is creating insecurity in the South East, there is banditry in the North West.
“It is only in the North Central that we have issues of farmers-herders clashes. There is less problem in the South –-West except for the clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers and the agitators for the Yoruba nation.
“Similarly, in the South – South, they are trying to instigate the avengers but so far the area is peaceful. The issue of insecurity is unique to each zone.”
Ndume, however, reiterated that the military must be provided with adequate weapons to prosecute the war against insurgency.
He also said salaries and allowances of military personnel ought to be paid in time.
He, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prioritise the issue of security.
“That means even if they will stop paying us and use the money to tackle security. Is it not when you are secure that you talk of other things? It is not only the politicians but everybody.
“If you know that you cannot move out of your house and they say sacrifice your salary, won’t you do it? Many people are working from home, yet they are being paid.
“They should stop paying salaries and address the whole issue of insecurity. If you don’t have money, stop paying salaries and allowances and use the money to provide security.
“If you are borrowing money to provide infrastructure, why can’t we borrow money to protect our people?” Ndume said.
Speaking in the same vein, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhassan Saleh, says the ban on open grazing of cattle by Southern Governors is an ‘empty policy’.
Speaking to SaharaReporters on Wednesday, Saleh said herders are not the problem facing the country, describing the Southern Governors as confused and mischievous.
“The Governors are confused and mischievous, are herders the problem of this country? Are they Biafra people killing people up and down, burning police stations?
“They are confused, or are they not confused? If they can’t address the terrorist activities being perpetrated by Nnamdi Kanu (leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra) and his Igbo terrorist group called IPOB, I think they are really confused, if they are not confused, then they are mischievous.
“Is there anything like secret grazing? Let the Governors go ahead to continue instigating their mobs to keep killing herdsmen. Can they comply with an empty policy? Where are the ranches?
“Are herdsmen the problem of this country? Are they the ones looting the treasury? They should leave the herders alone. They should stop killing innocent herders,” he said.