Pan-Arewa socio-political organisation, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has outrightly rejected the ban on open grazing imposed by Northern governors, a decision intended to tame the impasse between cattle herders and farmers.
CNG argued that the profiling of cattle herders as the architect of the bulk of the security challenges in the region and excluding members of Indigenous People of Biafra I(IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) and an alleged violent gangs led by Sunday Ighoho in the West, and the assortment of militant groups in the South South was unjust.
Its Spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a statement, yesterday, further blasted Northern governors, for failing to stand up for the rights of cattle herders while their Southern counterparts instituted Amotekun and Ebubeagu.
“After critically digesting the southern governors’ resolutions, particularly on the three key issues of grazing rights, national dialogue and restructuring, the CNG inadvertently draw the following inevitable observations and inferences:
“That the southern governors had unfairly profiled the entire business community of herders as the sole cause of the bulk of the security challenges in the region, while deliberately leaving out IPOB, ESN in the southeast, violent gangs led by the likes of Sunday Ighoho in the West, and the assortment of militant groups in the South South.
“That the southern governors typically neglected to acknowledge that just as development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations, so also has the mass movement of millions of people from the South into the vast interior of the North and the permanent nature of this movement.
“That disappointingly, the southern governors cowed from hitting the nail directly on the head by not holding the total failure of the All Progressives Congress administration of Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo responsible for the current national woes, rather than singling out a particular ethnic group for attack and irreverent treatment.
“That the Asaba meeting has however exposed the extent of the bankruptcy of northern governors who have not for once, met to take concrete steps to anticipate and checkmate the maneuvers of the South, particularly with the creation of such armed outfits as the Amotekun, Eastern Security Network and recently the Ebubeagu which are now the tools used to intimidate northerners in the South and to challenge the Nigerian State.
“That it also exposed the total failure of the northern governors in the vital area of speaking up for the rights of northerners to be protected from illegal harassment where they earn their living; their rights to places of worship, and their rights to full protection when they live as minorities among other communities in Nigeria,” he said.
To this end, Suleiman submitted that, “the CNG emphatically repudiates the vilification and targeting of the entire pastoral community for vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution.
“Categorically calls on all pastoralists and by extension, all northerners living as minorities in the South, whose lives and livelihoods stand threatened by this regime of hostile and damaging policies to be ratified by the southern governors, to immediately relocate with their livestock assets to the North.
“Demands for absolute guarantee of protecting the lives and property of the pastoral communities as they relocate to the North, by ensuring their movement is not impeded by any legislation or obstacle imposed by a state or a community in the South.
“Demands the Federal and northern states governments to immediately identify suitable lands across the region and create grazing reserves and cattle routes through resort to extant provisions of the Land Use Act and other related laws.
“Demands urgent action to check the mass movement of millions of people from the South into the vast interior of the North, as well as the permanent nature of this movement in view of the identified correlation between the current pervasive insecurity being felt across the North and the supply of arms and drugs by southern traders.
“Deplores the cowardice of the southern governors in choosing to scapegoat and not recognizing that the failure of Buhari/Osinbajo and the APC are solely responsible for Nigeria’s current challenges, and mobilizing their representatives in the National Assembly to support the calls for their impeachment.”
He further urged the federal government to urgently, to “proclaim a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development (NPGLD) to cater for the needs of all the pastoral communities everywhere in the country.
“Set up a National Pastoralist Commission (NPC) to act on all matters affecting the wellbeing and interests of all citizens whose livelihoods depend on livestock rearing.
“Proclaim a Special Intervention Initiative for supporting special livestock development policies and establish special funds to support pastoral communities along the lines of the Anchor Borrower Programme and other types of Federal Government interventions.”