The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has said it supports the resolution by the governors of southern Nigeria to ban open grazing in their domain.
The group said this in a communique issued at the end of its meeting held at the residence of the group’s acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Sanya-Ogbo, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. on Friday.
They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation; and also demanded the restructuring of the country, saying there is an urgent need for the president to convene a national dialogue.
The communique read: “Afenifere is in total support of the decision of Governors of the 17 states in Nigeria banning open grazing of livestock in any of the states that they control,” the Afenifere communique said.
“Afenifere felt that although the declaration by the governors ought to have come long before now, given the atrocities that have arisen from open grazing, it is better late than never.
“Despite various steps taken and appeals made by state governments and communities, herders continue to graze their cattle on farms of our people.
“When the farmers tried to protest, they (the farmers) are harassed, maimed and sometimes killed. Our female folks are raped. This is a very important reason for the need to completely outlaw open grazing with severe penalties for any violator.”
Afenifere also said they support the governors’ call for the restructuring of the country, reiterating that it has, as a group, made the demand since 1953.
It said it is “delighted” that the idea of restructuring as a mechanism for preventing the breakup of Nigeria “is becoming more popular and winning converts on a daily basis”.
The communique read: “A constitution based on Federalism was operating in the country until 1966 when the military consigned the Constitution into the dust bin,” the communique said.
“Since then, Nigeria has not been enjoying true federalism.
“We in Afenifere believe very strongly that failure to practise federalism and increasing Unitarisation of the country were largely responsible for the travails Nigeria is suffering today – and will continue to suffer – unless Nigeria is restructured!
“We have no doubt about this at all.
“We are happy to note that some who were either opposed to Restructuring or hesitant of it are now embracing it. We, therefore, demand that Restructuring should be effected NOW!”