Open-grazing ban: Northern elders declare position, call for national dialogue

The Northern Elders Forum, (NEF), has declared support for the ban on open-grazing by governors of the southern States.

Recall that bout 17 southern governors had held an emergency meeting in Asaba, Delta State to proffer solutions to increasing security issues in the country and there they announced the ban on open and called for restructuring.

The NEF said that it supports any programmed transition that will eliminate open-grazing and the establishment of productive, safe and sustainable options in managing the country’s huge national asset in animal husbandry.

In a statement issued by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, yesterday, the Forum however warned that the solution being sought cannot be achieved with threats and harassment, but with commitment and collaboration involving all governments and stakeholders.

Similarly, the Northern Governor’s Forum, (NGF), according to their meeting’s communiqué issued yesterday its chairman, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, has decided to sensitise herdsmen on the need to adopt ranching and other acceptable modern methods.

They affirmed that the current system of herding, conducted mainly through open-grazing, is no longer sustainable in view of the growing urbanisation and population of the country.

They appealed to the Federal Government to support States with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that will serve as springboard and evidence for breaking resistance to the full implementation of new methods of livestock production.

They also resolved to engage elders and youths in a robust discussion to douse the tense security environment in the North.

The Forum called for restraint from leaders, including those in the South, where passion is high and also called on citizens of the North to continue to live in peace with all Nigerians, irrespective of their origin and background.
They urged political leaders to differentiate between criminality and social groups and treat criminals as criminals.

The Northern governors described the eviction order as heating up the already fragile security atmosphere with threats of reprisals which they are working assiduously to contain.

The meeting said there was the urgent need for the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet and discuss the issue with their southern counterparts holistically with a view to resolving all areas of misunderstanding and the conflicts arising from these threats and suspicion for the sake of national unity.

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