- by E. Nriezedi
- 9:00 PM December 02, 2021
The group, No Alternative to Buhari and Osinbajo 2019, have condemned the anti-open grazing law governors from the 17 southern states plan to enact in their jurisdictions.
This was contained in a statement in Abuja signed by its National Coordinator, Vincent Uba, describing the ban as an unfair criminality label on legitimate businessmen, stating that the herdsmen targeted in the law were not known to carry arms.
The statement also said that reports linking herdsmen to criminality were unsubstantiated.
He said, “Granted that there could be some bad eggs or criminals within herders who perpetrate these crimes, it is pertinent to note that criminal tendencies equally obtain in other professions or occupations.
“It would, therefore, be unfair to label the entire herdsmen as criminals. This is in no way an attempt to condone criminality.”
Uba urged the governors to reconsider their position and not add more fire to the flame that is already causing a crisis in the country. He added the governors should also consider that the herders are mostly illiterate and would education on the reasons why open grazing should be done away with.
“To the southern governors and others who have banned open grazing, we urge you to tread softly. Banning a system that is as old as Nigeria itself is bound to produce rebound effects. This will definitely breed more crises and insecurity than is desired to be avoided.
“Legislating against open grazing without first providing alternative means of herding is likely to fuel more crises and heat up the polity.
“The much talked about ranching is no doubt the way to go, with due consideration taken that the vast number of these people who engage in nomadic herding are illiterates. Educating them on the need for a new approach to their way of doing business is key,” Uba added.