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Southern Governors Meeting: Reactions That Ignore The Decision To Ban Open Grazing

The Oasis Reporters

July 15, 2021

For decades, Northern governors have always held their caucus meetings where far reaching decisions are made, often to the detriment of the whining South. In some cases, their meetings would be held abroad, enabled by foreign governments, which sometimes impact negatively on the rest of the country.

And for the first time, highly threatened Southern governors have closed ranks, ignoring party partisanship, to hold a meeting. In fact, they have met twice, according to opposition party chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode in a BBC Igbo service interview.

Before considering what some northern leaders had to say, here’s a hypothetical scenario of a crop farmer either in the middle belt or from the South who plants corn, perhaps utilizing an interest bearing loan to pursue his crop agricultural means of livelihood.

Two months after planting as he looks forward to a bountiful harvest that would enable him keep his family, hunger free for a year, a herd of cattle perhaps numbering over 200 cows stray from their grazing path or route at night causing maximum damage that drives him into penury and starvation.

What should such a farmer do ?

Unfortunately, cattle herders have refused to answer this pertinent question, more so as the farmer cannot replant, less than one month to the cessation of rainfall.

Another question many herders avoid answering is how cattle rearing is pursued in other countries like the Netherlands, UK, India, South Africa, Israel, Egypt, Zimbabwe etc that produce dairy billionaires without killing a single farmer.

At least, the Kwara State government has Zimbabwean farm workers at Shonga farms, and so far, they sell fresh milk to Peak milk producers and they’ve never burned down any village or killed it’s inhabitants in Kwara State.

Here are some sound bites in prose, of reactions from some herders:

“You don’t just play politics. Some people want power to return to their region and they believe that the only way to go about it is to intimidate others. You want power to return to the South and you are driving people, about 17 million voters (Fulani), away.

The statement of the governors is more political than realistic. It is unfortunate that people can play politics with the livelihood of millions of Nigerians. If you stop open grazing in the South, you are simply saying that those people should move to the North or they should move to other parts of the country. What happens if those in the North also ask the southerners to leave?

You don’t stop people’s means of living and expect peace to reign. So, the implication is that the unity of Nigeria is going to be in question. You don’t expect those that will be affected to return to the North and live in peace with people from the South living in the North. It is double standards. ”

Ibrahim Abdullahi, National Secretary, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association (GAFDAN)

“They (the southern governors) are hungry for power. Why are they making open grazing an issue? Is it the only problem in the country? They may not even get the power.

Fulani herdsmen cannot move anywhere. The southern governors have not made any alternative (provision) for them. You cannot just drive away an economic group. If they (southern governors) want to blackmail the North, they may not get the presidency. They are only hungry for power with the direction they are going. ”

Saleh Alhassan, National Secretary, Miyetti Allah

Via Gazette news online.

It is obvious from the reactions that the herders forget that they are at the threshold of change, and resisting it further would be injurious to the nation.

If at the turn of the south to host the presidency they are rattling with the hope of keeping it for themselves a little bit longer so as to maintain the unsustainable open grazing by force of arms and intimidation, this may not give them their desired market nor tranquillity. It may be counterproductive.

Greg Abolo.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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