ACF Backs Southern Govs, Says Open Grazing Must End

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Monday
backed the last week’s resolution of 17 Southern
governors’ meeting in Asaba, Delta State, banning
open grazing.
The ACF, in a statement by its chairman, Chief Audu
Ogbeh, said it had no objection to the decision since
it was taken in the best of interest to help secure the
properties of farmers.
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Ogbeh said: “The fact of the matter is that the crisis
emanates from the belief by most herdsmen that
they’re free to enter any farm, eat up the crops and
rape or kill anyone raising objections. Nobody or
society can accept that.
“The current high price of garri is one obvious reason
for this behaviour. Few cassava farms cannot grow
to maturity before it is harvested by the farmers. So,
food security is already being threatened.”
He, however, urged the governors not to rest on their
oars with the belief that banning open grazing would
end the crisis between herders and farmers,
attributing the bulk of violent herders to foreigners
“marching in from neighbouring African countries in
large numbers, thousands at a time and showing no
regards to boundaries whether state or regional.
They’ve to be stopped.”
“Therefore, the Umar Abdullahi Ganduje formula must
be adopted to stop the entry into Nigeria of cattle
from West Africa.
“The solution is for Nigeria to seek an amendment to
Article 3 of the ECOWAS protocol, especially as
regards the free movement of cattle and other
livestock without special permits.
“If this is done, we have over 5 million hectares of
land in old grazing reserves left, enough to
accommodate over 40 million cows if well grassed
and watered.
“Northern governors should immediately look into
this and see the viability. Within those spaces,
ranches can be developed for lease to Nigerian
herders so that this matter can be brought to an end.
Thereafter, any herders found roaming can be
penalized.
“Our ECOWAS neighbours can find ways to deal with
their own issues the way they deem fit. We can seek
support from AfDB, the World Bank, the EU or the
Kuwait Fund or any source willing to support us in
resolving this problem.
“Hurling abuses, trading suspicion and threatening
warfare as is currently the trend will only produce
grief and disaster,” he stressed.

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