Anti-open grazing: Enforce law with Amotekun, Ebube Agu, Afenifere, Ohanaeze tell southern govs

Southern Governors Forum

A pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Friday faulted the claim by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that the anti-open grazing law passed by southern governors was unrealistic.

It said the law passed by various Houses of Assembly in the southern region was in accordance with the wishes of residents in the region and the resolution reached by the Southern Governors’ Forum.

El-Rufai had while speaking to journalists during a visit to the National Secretariat of the All progressives Congress, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said it was unhelpful to politicize the clashes between farmers and herders by passing laws that could not be implemented.

While speaking on the need for ranching as a solution, he said, “What is unhelpful is to politicize the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position.

“These herders emanate from the North and we are going to centralize them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira.”

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But Afenifer, through its General Secretary, Sola Ebiseni, said, “El-Rufai, with respect to him, was speaking with both sides of his mouth. Of course, the southern people agree that ranching is the best way to go. This is not only in accordance with modern and international best practices but also part of the resolutions of Nigerians at the 2014 CONFAB.

“Therefore, he is not saying a new thing with the recommendation of ranching. But whether it is achieved by legislation or verbal pronouncement by the likes of El-Rufai, what is important is that open grazing becomes a thing of the past; therefore, we are in support of what the governors (in the South) are saying.

“It is not only surprising that the same El-Rufai has gone beyond even what the southern governors have done in his own state. They have taken action even against the transportation of animals even by vehicles outside Kaduna.

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“The governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, and Katsina have come up with policies and executive orders banning the inter-state movement of animals within their states, which is more cumbersome to the herders than what the southern governors have done. Therefore, to us, he was only playing to the gallery in wanting to satisfy some interest. A leader of his own status should not be afraid to say the truth.”

But the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has called on southern governors to strengthen their local security architectures to implement the anti-open grazing laws in their respective states.

Its spokesperson, Alex Ogbonnia, said, “What he (El-Rufai) was trying to say is that most of the service chiefs are residing somewhere and since we don’t have the service chiefs, we may not be able to enforce it. That is the implication.

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“That is why the southern governors should work harder to beef up their security architecture at the state levels in what they call Amotekun and Ebube Agu, so that they would help to enforce some of these laws passed in the states,” Ogbonnia added.

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By Comr Amos Kalu

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