The presidency has expressed dissatisfaction over the ban on open grazing by the 17 southern governors.
Recall that the governors in Asaba, the Delta State capital unanimously placed a ban on the movement of cattle on foot by Fulani herdsmen in their respective states.
The ban has generated a lot of controversy as it has been heavily criticized by some northern elites including the Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami.
Reacting in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency questioned the legality of the ban, adding that the ban offers no solution to the crisis between herders and farmers.
It also said that Buhari is working round the clock to bring a lasting solution to the crisis.
Shehu, in his statement , stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed a strong resolve to address the conflicts 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 Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture; in a report he submitted and the President signed off on it back in April, well before the actions of the Southern Governors Forum which attempts to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate their powers.
“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 not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: ‘not in my state.”
He added, “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 pre-empted, 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 the solution and compliant with stated requirements.
“With veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families including schooling – through these rehabilitated reserves, the Federal Government is making far-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 state governments.
“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.”
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