Bauchi Gov. Bala Muhammed on Monday said he was not opposed to the ban on open grazing, but only detests ethnic criminalisation of herders.
Muhammed made this known at the ongoing 2021 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) – Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) in Ibadan.
The conference is entitled: “The Role of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria”.
He said that banning of open grazing was good “but the baby must not be thrown away with the bad water”.
The Governor said that open grazing was a form of occupation to some ethnic groups.
According to him, so, its banning must be done in a persuasive manner that would be beneficial to the herders, farmers and traders.
“We, the elites, must be very careful, not to set up our people that have been living in peace against each other.
“We must guide our utterances as governors, lawyers and every other profession.
“Disintegration can cause a lot of humanitarian crises that are unimaginable.
“We must come together and dialogue in a manner that will not aggravate the security situation in this country,” Muhammed said.
Ondo Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the decision of Southern Governors to ban open grazing in their states was irreversible.
According to him, the Governors have a duty to protect their citizens, including the herders.
Akeredolu said that the lifestyle of open grazing, which was not productive, could not be allowed to continue.
“The Federal Government must assist those that want to do ranching and spend the way it was spending money on rice production.
“The national livestock programme is so important and must be supported by the Federal Government to save lives.
“Those having these animals should also ranch them,” he said.
Akeredolu said that criminals involved in the killing and kidnapping of citizens from the forests would no longer be tolerated.
Also, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, said that leaders at all levels must stop the blame game and take responsibility for the safety of their citizens.
Okorocha, also the immediate past Governor of Imo, urged the leaders to try as much as possible to address poverty and injustice, in addition to engaging youths to solve the nation’s insecurity.