From Femi Folaranmi,Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has declared there are no grazing routes in state for the Federal Government to reopen.
President Muhammadu Buhari in an interview with Arise TV has disclosed that he had directed for grazing routes to be reopened across the country to curb the incessant farmers/herders crisis in the country.
However speaking in his maiden media chat over the weekend, Diri stated that there are no such routes in the state.
He explained that although he was not countering the federal government’s decision to resuscitate grazing routes, his administration had put in place a legal framework to ban open grazing and movement of cattle on foot.
The Bayelsa governor also emphasised that the southern governors had adopted the same position on the issue as part of measures to check farmers/herders clashes across the country added that his government could not afford to expose its citizenry to the looming danger.
His words: “For us, there are no cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa State. Our people are traditionally and occupationally fishermen. The idea of cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa is very strange to us in this part of the country.”
Senator Diri, who pointed out that in a federal system of government, states have rights to enact laws to regulate the activities of its people, stressed that the prohibition on open grazing of cattle would be fully implemented in the state.
“There may be cattle grazing routes in the north but what is applicable in the north may not be applicable to us in the south. I don’t want to believe we are running a unitary system of government.”
Meanwhile the state government has concluded plans to commission a 60-metric tonnes cassava starch factory built by the state government.
Diri who disclosed this over the weekend doing an inspection tour of the factory located at Ebedebiri in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state however urged people of the state to engage in massive cassava farming so as to meet the expected production capacity.
He said: “This is an indication that our people have to go back to the farms as what we are producing now would not be enough for the factory. So, I call on all Bayelsans to be very serious with cassava farming and production.
“All the necessary tools and machines are here. We are talking about commercial farming so you can make money.”
Diri commended his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, for embarking on the project aimed at producing starch for industrial purpose.
He also thanked the host community for securing the plant against vandalism.