With an association like the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) supporting the banning of open grazing, it is certain now that concerted efforts would be geared towards effectively controlling the menace across the country. This is many of its members in past have been the one opposing it even when they realized the havoc such activities has being causing farmers.
Concerted efforts from a large percentage of people in authorities, with the assistance of some elder statesmen talking on how the menace can be tackled to avoid food crisis in the country, it is obvious that solution to the problem is at sight.
The ACF said that the decision to ban open grazing is in the best interest of all Nigerians.
The forum however warned that merely banning open grazing will not end the challenges as alarge population of violent herders come from neighbouring countries
In a statement on Monday in Kaduna, Chairman of the forum and former minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe said, “The ACF does not see any reason to object to a decision taken in the best interest of all.”
He said, “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.”
According to him, the current high price of garri is one obvious reason of this behaviour.
“Few cassava farms can grow to maturity or be harvested by the farmers. So food security is already being threatened”, the statement said.
He said, “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.
“Therefore, the Ganduje formula must be adopted to stop the entry into Nigeria of cattle from West Africa”, Ogbe said.
He said the solution is for Nigeria to seek an amendment to article 3 of the ECOWAS Protocols, especially, as regards to free movement of cattle and other livestock without special permits.
Ogbe said if this is done, we have over 5million hectatres of land in old grazing reserves left, enough to accommodate over 40 million cows if well grassed and watered.
He called on Northern governors to immediately look into this and see the viability, stressing that within those spaces, ranches can be developed for lease to Nigerian herders as an end to the crisis.
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 AfFB, the World Bank, EU or the Kuwait Fund or any source willing to support us in resolving this problem.
The elder statesman said hurling abuses, trading suspicion and threatening warfare as is currently the trend will only produce grief and disaster