Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State governor, has said he will only support ban on open grazing in the country if it benefits farmers and herders.
Earlier this month, governors in the south resolved to ban movement of cattle by foot in the region at a meeting in Asaba, Delta State.
Speaking on Monday at the annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mohammed said though he supports the prohibiting of open grazing, “the baby must not be thrown away with the bath water”.
The governor, who noted that he is not comfortable with the “ethnic criminalisation” of herders, said the ban must be persuasive and benefit farmers and cattle rearers.
He also cautioned elites in against making inciting statements that can cause crisis in the country.
“We, the elite, must be very careful, not to set up our people that have been living in peace against each other”, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted him as saying.
“We must guide our utterances as governors, lawyers and every other profession. Disintegration can cause a lot of humanitarian crises that are unimaginable.
“We must come together and dialogue in a manner that will not aggravate the security situation in this country.”
On his part, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo governor, said open grazing must not be allowed to continue.
“The federal government must assist those that want to do ranching and spend the way it was spending money on rice production.
“The national livestock programme is so important and must be supported by the federal government to save lives.
“Those having these animals should also ranch them,” he stated.