From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Following the latest heated debates on ban on open grazing in Nigeria, the Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum, and former Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh, on Monday, offered solutions he thought could resolve the problem.
He told Nigerian governors to consider adopting the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje who had already developed a robust plans for grazing within stipulated areas in Kano.
Ogbe said in a statement that the ACF did not see any reason to object to a decision taken by the southern governors in the best interest of all.
To him, the fact of the matter was that the crisis emanates from the belief by most herdsmen that they were free to enter any farm, eat up the crops and rape or kill anyone raising objections which nobody or society could accept.
According to him, ‘the current high price of garri is one obvious reason for this behaviour. Few cassava farms can grow to maturity or be harvested by the farmers. So, food security is already being threatened.
‘There is, however, the need to advise the governors 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 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 into Nigeria of cattle 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 without special permits.
‘If this is done, we have over 5m hectares of land in old grazing reserves left, enough to accommodate over 40 million cows if well grassed and watered.
‘Northern governors 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 issues the way they deem fit.
‘We can seek support from AFDB, the World Bank, the 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.’