With The Change Of Service Chiefs, Mr. President Should Give Order To Stop Open Grazing - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

With The Change Of Service Chiefs, Mr. President Should Give Order To Stop Open Grazing

By Prince Adekunle Ayoola

One has to put it straight away that the recent Ondo State Government meeting (OSGS/Cow Merchants) of 25/01/2021 and subsequent resolution thereof was a ‘pacifist agenda’ not a real solution to the challenge of Cow Merchant /Farmer crisis in South West of Nigeria and beyond.

Open grazing is threatening our businesses and communities. The latest incident in Igandan - Ibarapa, Oyo State, and the subsequent rise of Yoruba activist,  Chief Sunday  Adeyemo, also popularly  known  as Sunday Igboho,  to give voice to our people's plights following  the unabated activities of criminal herders, is one example.

Threat to lives, agroinvesments and communal peace in Southwest and other parts of Nigeria as represented by some herders has to stop now! Nigeria may turn into a war zone any moment from now if Mr. President failed to condemn openly and show to us that he is a President of Nigeria not of Fulani, of which his silence is doing more harm to the tribe than good, silence mean consent which give audacity to the ‘riffraff’ taking advantage and issue press statement to heat up our polity.

The meeting was convene at expiration of lawful order by one of our Leader, Ondo State Governor directing herders/cow merchant to vacate Government Reserve Forest, which is constitutional but North hurriedly assembly a powerful delegation led by Governor Badaru to accompany the Cow Merchants to the South West to pacify when they suppose to discuss further on how to secure and build a business synergy on how to improve cattle business, better than the nomadic/open grazing that causes problem between herders/cow merchants and farmers/locals in South West of Nigeria.

The Herders/Cow Merchants make fortune from South West by extension, from  the whole of Southern part of Nigeria when compared to what they make up North, many factors at play. We kill Cows at every ceremony in South and we also eat more meat than the North and this evidently transform into more money into the pocket of the Cow Merchant not the Government. 

The Government should come up with genuine intention of resolving the crisis via constitutional provision and State bye law that prohibited Open Grazing. 

In Benue and Taraba states, there have  strict enforcement  of anti-open grazing routes since 2016 and this has reduced herders - farmers clashes to a near bearable proportion but the experience  is different in Southwest of Nigeria. 

It is only in Ekiti State where there is an anti-open grazing law was implemented by Ayodele Fayose of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) while governor, but the state is today being run by Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress who was elected governor in July 2018.

The rest - Oyo,  Ondo,  Ogun,  Osun and Lagos states have no anti - open grazing laws in place. 

It is important to recall that President Buhari policy on crop farming was agenda that we need to feed our selves and stop reliance on foreign crops but the herders/cow merchants were believed to be working against such policy in Southern part of Nigeria and North Central in particular to the extent that the cow merchants have audacity to issue a frivolous claim that lands belong to Fulani which was a wrong perception from the cow merchants.
Regrettably,  we are the only country that write good policy on paper but could not implement it because we believe one ethnic group or tribe will benefit more from it than the other(s), thus making  us too reactionaries’ than been proactive in Nigeria. One expects that Mr. President should act fast now before we take up arm to defend our farms in South West and beyond. 
The Political elites’ mindset is that of total conqueror, which they manage to achieve with putting fear in our mind with thugs or herders only to come later to pacify us, ‘kolewerk mo.’  That approach is no longer valid.

One received with cheers, the Tuesday change of guards in the military, a development  that saw Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar leaving their positions and duties while Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff now serve as replacement.

With this new change in the military echelon, Mr. President should now give needed directive to stop Open Grazing Nationally, and give ultimatum to Cow Merchants to ranch their cows for peace to reign. Cow Rearing is a business that Cow merchants should acquire land same way, we bought lands for farming in Ogun State, and land also can be lease from Communities for the purpose whereby they abide by local communities’ rules and regulation.

Prince Adekunle Ayoola, former Students leader, politician and agribusiness investor,  writes from Warsaw, Poland. 

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