Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State, has said it is the responsibility of governments at all levels to protect herdsmen as they do for spare part dealers in the country.
Adamu, who spoke on Monday at a media briefing in Abuja, said the federal, state and local governments have a duty to protect herders.
The ex-governor, who is also senator representing Nasarawa West, stated that every Nigerian has a right to free movement and to pursue any legitimate business.
There have been increase in farmer-herder clashes across the country, forcing governors of the southern region to agree to ban open grazing in their states.
The lawmaker said even if all the governors in the north agree with their counterparts in the south on banning open grazing, it will not change the fact that herders have rights.
“The duty to protect the herdsman and the farmer rests squarely on the table of the national government, the state government and the local government,” he said.
“The question is, has the government done what it ought to do to protect the people in that category or in that trade? The answer is no.
“You cannot blame the person who is desperate and looking for a means of livelihood. However, this does not excuse anybody in the course of exercising his right, to do harm to another person’s right.
“A farmer has the right to farm. If you take your cattle to his farm and cause damage, he has a right to claim and he can claim in the court of law. It doesn’t matter. If all the northern governors echo the same thing that the southern governors did, it doesn’t change it. The government owes these herdsmen a duty to protect their calling.
“Yes, there is modernisation, but it is not the fault of the herdsman that he still grazes the same way he has been doing. We have misdirected our political thinking and activism by refusing to tackle the main issue.
“If you can protect a spare parts dealer, why can’t you protect herdsmen?
If the government and CBN can protect failing banks, why can’t you protect herdsmen?”