The recent ban on open grazing by the Southern Governors’ Forum has been described by the Presidency as illegal.
The president accused the governors of politicking with serious security issues and an attempt at a show of power.
The Southern Governors on May 11 banned open grazing and movement of cattle in a bid to check clashes between farmers and the herdsmen in the region.
The presidency’s made his position known in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, insisting 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.
He stated that the governors’ ban on open grazing has a “questionable legality.”
Shehu stressed that the resolutions offered no solution to the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a number of measures aimed at ending the crisis.
He said further that… “the President had approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanno, 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.”
President Buhari assured that the associated problem of the gun-wielding “killer herdsmen” would be tackled