President Muhammadu Buhari has finally responded to the open grazing ban made by Southern Governors in its regions.
The President stance on the ban was contained in a statement released by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
According to the presidency, the ban is of “questionable legality given the Constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights nd freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) regardless of the State of their birth or residence”.
He statement went on to reveal that the Federal Government would commence partial implementation of the plan to rehabilitate grazing reserves in willing states, starting from June.
The statement reads,
“President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed a strong resolve to address the conflict of 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 herdsmen’.
The President had approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by Alhaji Sabi Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture in a report as submitted and the President signed off on it back in April, well before the actions of the Southern Governor’s Forum which attempts to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by it’s signatories to demonstrate their power.
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 governance and rights, and it to wash their hands off hard choices by instead issuing bans that say ‘not in my state’.
It is equally true that their announcement is of questionable legality given the Constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) regardless of the state of their birth or residence.
Fortunately, this declaration has been preempted 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 solution and complaint with stated requirements.
With veterinary clinics, water points for animals, d facilities for herders and their families including schooling – through these rehabilitated reserves, the Federal Government is making their 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 the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on public finances for both Federal and States. Still, given the 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 consenting states should take off in June”.