President Muhammadu Buhari has okayed recommendations that would address the conflicts of herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner.
The President, however, dismissed the ban on open grazing by the Southern governors in their respective States, at their recent meeting in Asaba, Delta state, stressing that the governors’ “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)…”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Buhari approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as contained in a report submitted by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, in April.
The statement noted that the approval was given well before the actions of the Southern Governors Forum 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 continued 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 actualisation of the modern reserve system in a few of the consenting states should take off in June.”