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Arewa Consultative Forum condemns open grazing

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...Urges govs to establish ranches

By Maureen Ikpeama

Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has condemned open grazing , saying that nobody would accept the attitude of herdsmen who trespass into farms with their cattle,  eat up the crops and rape or kill any one raising objections.

Chairman of the forum, Audu Ogbe, in a statement on Monday, in Kaduna, advised the federal government to stop herders from West African countries from entering Nigeria as advocated by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

He said that the suggestion by Kano State Governor would help to contain open grazing and farmer/herder clashes.

The ACF Chairman said Nigeria should seek an amendment to Article 3 of the ECOWAS protocol, “especially as regards free movement of cattle and other livestock without special permit.

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

He also urged Northern States Governors to look at the viability of those spaces to develop ranches for lease to Nigerian herders, so that the matter of open grazing can be brought to an end.

“Thereafter, any herders found roaming can be penalised and our ECOWAS neighbours can find ways to deal with their own issues the way they deem fit.”

The forum chairman advised Nigeria to seek support from Africa Development Bank, the World Bank, European Union, Kuwait Fund or any source willing to support the initiative.

He maintained that hurling abuses, suspicion and threats as currently trending, “will only produce grief and disaster.”

Ogbe said governors should not think that merely banning open grazing would end the crisis, as “the bulk of the violent herders are from neighbouring countries, who have no regards to boundaries, whether state or regional”. He said that those were the herdsmen that must be stopped.

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