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ACF Says No to Open Grazing

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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said it does not see any reason to object to the decision taken by the Southern governors to ban open grazing in their states.

In a statement issued by the National Chairman of the forum, Audu Ogbeh, on Monday, noted that the recent crisis emanates from the belief that the herders enter a farm eat up the crops and sometimes kill and rape victims, saying no society will accept this.

According to the ACF chieftain, the prices of food is on the increase as a result of the current crisis, so the decision to ban open grazing is timely.

But he was quick to add that banning open grazing will not end the crisis because the violent herders from the other African countries are mostly responsible for the crisis.

“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.

He, therefore, suggested that amending article 3 of the Ecowas protocol which will allow only herders with permits into a country will have to stop.

”The bulk of the violent herders are the ones marching in from neighbouring African countries in large numbers, thousands at a time and showing no regards to boundaries whether State or regional. They have to be stopped.

” Therefore the Ganduje formula must be adopted to stop the entry of cattle into Nigeria  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 wirthought special permits.

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

“Northern governor’s should immediately look into this and see the 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 penalised.

“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, he stressed.

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