Buhari Succumbs, Okays Ranching, Says Southern Govs. Position Of Questionable Legality


    The Federal Government said it is speeding up the rehabilitation of grazing reserves in states that already indicated interest in harbouring such.

    The government said money for the project, which has been delayed, has now been partly unlocked adding that the rehabilitation would start as early as June.

    The move is not unconnected with the resolution of Southern governors, which at their parley in Delta State on May 11, banned open grazing across southern states.

    The governors’ position has wide support among southerners, who have accused armed herders of killing, kidnapping and the destruction of farmlands in the south.

    Senior Special Assistant to the President(Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, alluded to this in his statement yesterday when he said that the position of the governors was political and did not proffer any solution to the farmer/herders crises.

    In any case, he said the governors’ position came late as President Muhammadu Buhari had in April approved far reaching recommendations to address the age old problems.

    Shehu’s statement reads: “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 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 not 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 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 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 the consenting states should take off in June.”










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