The federal government on Monday, questioned the ‘legality’of the resolution reached by the Southern Governors on open grazing. It said there was no solution, to the crisis between herders and farmers.
Recall that, Southern governors had convened in Asaba, Delta State; made 12 resolutions, one of which was the ban on open grazing.
Reacting to the ban, yesterday, the Presidency, through its Media and Publicity Secretary, Garba Shehu, promised the rehabilitation work on grazing reserves in the country, would commence in June.
Shehu said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed strong resolve to address the conflicts between herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner that should lead to the emergence of a permanent solution to the frequent clashes between them, as well as the associated problem of the gun wielding ‘killer herders'”.
The President noted that there was no solution to the herder-farmer clashes; adding that the presidency had proffered a “lasting solution, by providing rehabilitation grazing reserves, with the availability of social amenities”.
The statement reads: “It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes, that have been continuing in our country for generations.
“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 grievance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices, by, instead issuing bans that says ‘not in my State’.
“It is equally true that their announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerian to enjoy the same rights and freedom within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) – regardless of the state of their birth of residence.
“Fortunately, this declaration has been preempted, for whatever it is intended to achieve. And Mr President, who has been rightly 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, receives in the states, starting with these that are truly committed to the solution and complement with stated requirements.
“With Vertinary clinics, water ports from animals, and facilities for herders and their families, including schooling-through those 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.
“The entire country is acutely aware of the strain Covid-19 pandemic has taken on public finances; for both federal and states, still given pressing urgency of addressing the perennial challenges. The federal funding for the project that has been delayed is now being partly unlocked.
“Actual work for the full actualization of the modern reserve system in a few of the consenting states should take off in June.”
Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News | May 25, 2021