Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has said the ban on open grazing by some state governors in the country is against the spirit of coexistence.
Baba-Ahmed made the comment during an interview on Channels Television on Monday.
“We are not against open grazing. We are in support of ranching, domesticating cattle, modern ways on how both the cattle and the Fulani man can rest from this worrisome way of which it can be done”, he said.
“What we are insisting on is that this haste to sign laws that ban open grazing is both counterproductive [and] very damaging to the spirit of coexistence”.
“When you hear governors say you’re on your own, find a way to protect yourselves, you are then talking about anarchy.
“The more the states fail to provide security to communities, the more communities become desperate”.
He noted that “if there are routes and grazing reserves, they don’t necessarily contradict the law against open grazing. Open grazing exists because there are no routes and reserves”.
Baba-Ahmed argued that the Fulanis roam around because they do not have access to what legitimately belong to them from what the government has provided.
The NEF spokesperson stated that the issue should be treated with importance.
“It’s not a southern issue, it’s not a northern issue, it’s a national issue,” he added.
Speaking further, he faulted President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors’ handling of the issue.
His comments come days after Buhari approved the recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch,” 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment”.
Among other things, the committee recommended the production of maps and geo-mapping/tagging of sites, analysis of findings and report preparations as well as design appropriate communication on Grazing Reserves and operations.
Clashes between herders and farmers have lasted for ages in Nigeria.
The herders, mostly from the northern part of the country, move to the southern part in search of pasture for their livestock.
Locals often accuse them of killing, kidnapping, rape and destruction of their crops and farmlands.