Chairman of the Southern Governor’s Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, has explained why the group placed a ban on open grazing of cows into and within the region.
The governors had earlier in a communique jointly signed by all called for a national dialogue and also announced that a ban has been placed on open grazing in the region. The communique was signed at the end of their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, on Tuesday.
Akeredolu on Wednesday, during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily said the decision is not new and most of the governors have placed a ban on open grazing in their states before the meeting.
He called for a modern system of animal husbandry.
“This message is not new. We looked at what is happening in our respective states. Most of the states have passed laws on open grazing. Virtually all of us have passed that law.
“We felt that … this open grazing must stop. It is causing a lot of problems particularly between the herders and the farmers. Whether we like it or not, times have changed and this must change. We must adopt a modern system of animal husbandry.
“In this day and age, they cannot continue taking cows by foot from Kano to Port Harcourt,” he said.
The governor said the Federal government needs to throw its weight behind state governments that want to set up ranches, noting that this will benefit the herders who are exposed to dangers as they roam with their cattle.
“At the meeting, we referred to what Governor Ganduje said. It was clear that he is also against open grazing. He says it does not augur well and the herders also do not benefit from it. There is no development, they are exposed to dangers.
“That why we suggested that the Federal Government should intervene to help these herders. The Federal government should give money for ranches to be created. That is why it is part of our recommendation that states who want to create ranches be supported,” Akeredolu who is also the Governor of Ondo State said.
The decision of the Southern Governors to ban open grazing comes three months after the Nigerian Governors Forum did the same.
In February 2021, the Nigerian Governors Forum, representing all 36 states in the country, said it had reached a consensus on the “need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night, and underage grazing in the country.”
The ban on open grazing comes as herdsmen violence continues to be reported across the country.
Beyond the herdsmen crisis, the country continues to groan under diverse security threats, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, and secessionist agitations in the South-East and South-West.