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Open-grazing ban: Buhari backs Malami’s stance, says Southern Governors’ resolution ‘power show’

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The Presidency has faulted the recent stance of the Southern Governors regarding the ban on open grazing in the entire southern part of the country. He (Buhari) insisted that the governors’ resolution is a violation of the constitutional right of Nigerians to live and do business in any part of the country, irrespective of such citizen’s state of origin.

An inkling into the president’s mindset came to light last week Wednesday when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, compared selling of spare parts in the North to open grazing of cattle in Southern Nigeria, which drew the ire of Southern governors, senior lawyers and other socio-political organizations.

The presidency’s position was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, where he claimed that the governors did not only fail to provide any solution to the lingering crisis between farmers and herders in the country but also tried to politice a serious security issues with the sole intent of demonstrating their power.

“It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their (the Governors’) 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”. Shehu said.

The President’s spokesman noted that his principal had approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, in a report he submitted.

He stated that President Buhari signed off on the report in April.

“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,” he said.

State Governors in the South had resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region following a meeting held on May 11 in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

They had called for the restructuring of the country along with fiscal federalism, devolution of powers, and state policing, as well as asked President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a national dialogue to address the agitations by various groups in the region.

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