Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday explained why the Forum placed a ban on open grazing of cows into and within the states across the region. The governors had earlier in a communique jointly signed by all called for a national dialogue and also announced that a ban has been placed on open grazing in the region. The communique was signed at the end of their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Tuesday. Akeredolu, who is also the governor of Ondo State, presided over the Asaba meeting of the governors.
But during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, yesterday, Akeredolu said the decision was not new. He said: “It is not an entirely new issue; most of the governors have placed a ban on open grazing in their states before the meeting. “We looked at what is happening in our respective states.
Most of the states have passed laws on open grazing. Virtually all of us have passed that law. “We felt that this open grazing must stop. It is causing a lot of problems particularly between the herders and the farmers. Whether we like it or not, times have changed and this must change. We must adopt a modern system of animal husbandry. “In this day and age, they cannot continue taking cows by foot from Kano to Port Harcourt.”
The governor said the Federal Government needs to throw its weight behind state governments that want to set up ranches, noting that this will benefit the herders who are exposed to dangers as they roam with their cattle. He added: “At the meeting, we referred to what Governor Umar Ganduje said. It was clear that he is also against open grazing. He says it does not augur well and the herders also do not benefit from it. There is no development, they are exposed to dangers. “That why we suggested that the Federal Government should intervene to help these herders. The Federal Government should give money for ranches to be created. That is why it is part of our recommendation that states who want to create ranches be supported,” he said. The decision of the Southern governors to ban open grazing comes three months after the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) did the same.