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Insecurity: Nigeria should seek amendment to ECOWAS protocol –ACF

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Monday called on the Federal Government to seek an amendment to the Economic Community of West Africa, (ECOWAS) protocol as a panacea towards ending the farmers, herders clashes in Nigeria.


ACF said the bulk of the herders that kill and main people in their farms come from neighboring African countries and they told the Southern Governors that a mere ban on open grazing will not solve the problem.


A statement by the ACF, signed by its Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, said: “The ACF does not see any reason to object to a decision taken in the best interest of all.


The fact of the matter is that the crisis emanates from the belief by most herdsmen that they are free to enter any farm, eat up the crops and rape or kill any one raising objections.


Nobody or society can accept that.” Ogbe said: “The current high price of garri is one obvious reason of this behavior. Few cassava farms can grow to maturity or be harvested by the farmers. So food security is already being threatened.


“There is, however, the need to advise the governor’s in all states not to think that merely banning open grazing will end the crisis. The bulk of the violent herders are the ones marching in from neighboring African countries in large numbers, thousands at a time and showing no regards to boundaries whether State or regional.


They have to be stopped.” ACF said: “Therefore the Ganduje formula must be adopted to stop the entry into Nigeria of cattle from West Africa.


“The solution is for Nigeria to seek an amendment to Article 3 of the ECOWAS Protocol, especially as regards the free movement of cattle and other livestock without special permits.


“If this is done, we have over over 5m.hectatres of land in old grazing  reserves left, enough to accommodate over 40 million cows if well grassed and watered.”


The ACF Chairman therefore added: “Northern governor’s should immediately look into this and see its viability. Within those spaces, ranches can be developed for lease to Nigerian herders so that this matter can be brought to an end.


Thereafter any herders found roaming can be penalized. “Our ECOWAS neighbours can find ways to deal with their own issues the way they seem fit. We can seek support from AFDB, the World BANK, EU or the Kuwait Fund or any source willing to support us in resolving this problem. Hurling abuses, trading suspicion and threatening warfare as is currently the trend will only produce grief and disaster.”


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