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Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday reiterated that the ban on open grazing by Southern state governors is irreversible.

He said all governors were in agreement on full autonomy for the Judiciary and Local Governments administration.

He spoke at the 2021 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-SPIDEL) annual conference in Ibadan.

“The southern governors at our meeting in Asaba took a decision. We want to say that the decision is irreversible and we are maintaining it.

“Although for one reason or the other, I couldn’t attend the All Progressive Congress (APC) Southwest leaders forum meeting, I am happy that meeting supported our position in that respect.

“The response of Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami in an interview, for me is most uncalled for. That has shown his own mind set.

“We call on the federal government to come out and assist people in so many fields. Animal husbandry is another form of farming. If you are spending money on those who are involved in rice cultivation, why can’t we spend money on those who are involved in animal husbandry.

“The only way we can do that is to take them off this anachronistic way of having to herd cows from Kaura-Namoda to Lagos. It does not make sense. Not in this century.

“It is for us to encourage ranching. The federal government should assist those who want to establish ranches, so that all these animals you want to ranch would come in trains and you bring them to ranch where they would be better fed and people would go there to buy.

“Ondo state would do ranching. The National Livestock programme is so important. States that are interested let them be involved in ranching and the federal government should support it.

“Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has been very forthright in the matter saying that he also supports the ban on open grazing in many ways without mincing words.

“You see a herder and how poor he looks and his herds is worth millions. Then there are some problems. He remains poor and herding animals that are worth millions. Which means he is being used by other people. It means the cows don’t belong to him. If they belong to him, he is a millionaire.

“It is time they found a new way of rearing these animals so that nobody starts trekking from Sokoto to Lagos looking for food”, he emphasized.

He said Malami’s comparison of spare parts selling with cattle rearing is most unfortunate.

“All these people, all the Bororos, we are not asking them to leave. What we are saying is that we are opposed to criminality and we would fight it with what we have. People would enter our forest, they would kidnap our people and we would just keep quiet? We would not accept it.”

On Judicial autonomy, Akeredolu said all of them in the Governors Forum, in their various discussions, believed in judicial autonomy and local government autonomy.

“Judiciary must be autonomous. Local governments in Ondo state cannot complain. I don’t even know how much they earn or how they spend their money. They have their JAC and I am not interested in how they spend their money”, he said.

He said the time is now for creation of state police and that governors were already preparing for it.

Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed said governors of the People Democratic Party (PDP) at a meeting last week endorsed the position of the southern governors on open grazing ban but with a lot of moderation.

“What I am against is ethnic profiling. I would never agree that all Fulani herdsmen are criminals.

He said the practice of pastoralism has subjected Fulani to a lot of challenges. The Fulaniman is my hero as much as an Nnewi trader who defied all odds, ethnic and other geographical challenges to decide where he must live.

“Where are our fundamental human rights? The Rights to residence, the rights to be citizens? The rights to live anywhere so long as you follow the rules of the land. Nobody is saying herders should be criminals or should be killing. Have we had that problems are we having it now?

Senator Rokas Okorocha said blame games must stop and that leaders must take responsibilities.

Okorocha listed the problems in the country to include insecurity, unemployment, herdsmen, banditry, poverty among others.

“You might import all equipment in this world to fight insecurity, we can be going round and round but never arrive at a destination.”, he said

He said it amounted to injustice for a boy of about ten years to trek from the North to the south herding animals on foot.

To correct insecurity, he said we must address injustice, poverty and engage the youth to take their minds off crime.

The Nation

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