Open grazing: Southern senators back Southern governors on ban

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The Senators from Southern Nigeria have backed the governors of their states for declaring a total ban on open grazing.

The Herald had reported that the 17 governors announced the ban on open grazing in a 12-point communique issued after a meeting in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday.

In the communique read by the Chairman, Rotimi Akeredolu, the Southern Governors Forum advised the Federal Government to back willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

In a statement on Wednesday, the senators under the aegis of the Southern Senators Forum (SSF) said that the ban on open grazing will help address herders-farmers clashes as well as continued killings, kidnapping, raping, and destruction of property of people of southern extraction.

The statement titled “Insecurity: Southern senators commend and endorse the resolutions of the southern governors; urging them to work with the National Assembly for optimal results” was jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Secretary-General and Publicity Secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti), Matthew Urhoghide (Edo), and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu).

The senators applauded the step taken by the governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands, kidnappings, and carnages.

“As insecurity continues to take a toll on the country and subjecting many to kidnapping and killing, the Southern Senators Forum (SSF), has commended Governors from the region for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning open grazing of cattle.

“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.

“Southern Governors  Forum (SGF), had at its meeting held in Asaba, Delta State Capital, on Tuesday, unanimously passed a verdict prohibiting open grazing in the region to checkmate herders-farmers clashes and senseless kidnapping as well as killings of Nigerian citizens of southern extraction,” the statement read in part.

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They lamented that Southern Nigeria was losing hundreds of millions of naira to destruction of their farmlands and produce by herdsmen, noting that this exposed the region to famine and acute food scarcity.

“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.

“Finally, the Southern Senators Forum encouraged 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.”


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