The governors of Kaduna and Ondo states, Nasir El-Rufai, and Rotimi Akeredolu, have disagreed on the likelihood that the ban on open grazing will address the constant farmer/herder clash across the nation.
Speaking during a plenary session at the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Akeredolu said the practice of open grazing is not ideal for Nigeria.
Countering Mr Akeredolu, Mr El-Rufai claimed the nomadic grazing is a culture that cannot be put away easily.
The Southern Governors Forum had banned open grazing in the 17 southern states. This was part of the 12 resolutions reached by the governors at a meeting they held in May 2021.
Open grazing of cattle has often caused conflicts between host communities and itinerant herders, leading to several deaths in many states.
Mr Akeredolu said state governments decided to take up the task of securing their citizens after the Nigerian justice system failed to do so.
“The open grazing ban in the South is not an issue of sentiments or ethnicity gains but the government has the right to protect the people. We will not allow anyone to destroy our farmers,” he said.
“Our justice system is faulty, we have a police system that is not willing to make arrests. But with the introduction of the Amotekun outfit in the south west, if any herder trespasses on people’s farmland, they will be arrested.
“In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnap for ransom.We have drug abuse and agitation for self determination. We have always preached multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security.
“Today, if you trespass on other people’s land, the Amotekun will go after you and arrest you. They pay compensation to the farmers and when they fail they are in court. It is the only way you can send signals to the people.
“When you commit a crime and the hands of law don’t catch up with you, another person will repeat it. I can assure you that when you do not have an effective policing system, there is little or nothing a governor can do. And the criminal trial is taking too long,” Mr Akeredolu said.
He spoke of the need for a multi-level policing that promotes independent security outfits to ensure security in states.
Mr El-Rufai alleged that the open grazing ban by the southern governors is a political drive.
“Building ranches and creating incentives for herders is the solution to the farmer/herder crisis. There is enough land for ranching in Nigeria,” he said.