From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has taken a swipe at his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for castigating southern governors over their anti-open grazing stance.
Governor El-rufai, during a visit at the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had warned his southern counterparts that it was unhelpful politicising anti-open grazing law and passing legislation that they know cannot be implemented.
“The northern state governors forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching. But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan, we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution.
But Akeredolu said the comment by El-Rufai was devious and showed his support for banditry. He said southern governors were against open grazing and no amount of threat would make them change their position.
The Ondo governor stated this in a statement by his Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo.
“From all indications, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, if he was properly quoted and his views not misrepresented, is struggling hard to export banditry to the south under an expressed opinion that is laced with mischief. In these days and times, anyone who makes statements such as that allegedly made by the governor belongs to a class of an unenviable ilk masquerading as leaders.
“There is no wisdom in condemning or banning open grazing, prohibiting inter border movement of cattle in the north, including Kaduna, with an accompanying disapproval of a law that gives bite to same, in another part of the country. Perhaps, it is apt to state clearly that the likes of Governor el-Rufai are already in a hysteric ‘mode’ of escalating and indeed, externalising banditry, especially as the military onslaught against criminal elements and other terror variants suffices in the north. For emphasis, any such comment like that of the Kaduna Governor, if indeed he made that statement, merely seeks to encourage anarchy under the guise “of resentment of a law by affected stakeholders.”
“In order words, it is a cleverly crafted path towards replicating in the south, the most despicable situation in the north that Nigerians of goodwill daily pray to overcome. It’s a ploy beyond the ordinary. It must, however, be noted that the Anti-Grazing Law, especially in Ondo State, has come to stay. It shall be zealously guarded and conscionable deployed to protect all residents of Ondo State, notwithstanding their ethnic and religious biases. Those who have nothing evil to perpetrate have nothing to fear as regards the Law.”
Meanwhile, Osun State government has began the sensitisation of herdsmen on the recently-passed anti-open grazing law.
The sensitisation, which had heads of herders groups in the state in attendance, was organised by the state’s civic centre.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola had signed the Bill into law on September 15.
Speaking at the sensitisation, Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Mr. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, said the programme was put in place to sensitise herdsmen on the content of the law.
He said the programme was to let the herdsmen understand that the law was not meant to witch-hunt or segregate them in the state.
“The programme is also to educate them to operate within the ambit of the law and not to claim ignorance of it,’’ he said.
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