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El-Rufai condemns Southern Governors for banning open grazing, herding

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has faulted actions of his colleagues across 17 states in Nigerian Southern region on ban placed on open grazing, herding through the recently signed law, saying the anti-grazing laws were unrealistic and unimplementable.

He said that anti-grazing law being approved by the southern Governors as against ranching which was viable solution to end the protracted herder-farmer crisis across the country would achieve little in bringing lasting solution to the crisis.

“What is unhelpful is to politicize the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position,” the governor said while briefing journalist during his visit to the National Secretariat of the All progressives Congress, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

He, however, admitted that while ranching remains the ideal solution to end the crisis, the initiative needs resources and time to materialize and cater for the need of Fulani herders engaging in open grazing across the country and leading to the challenges.

According to him, the northern state governor’s forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.

“But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan; we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution. We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that.

“And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution, a long time one. But can it be done overnight? No. This project we are doing will cost us about 10 billion naira. The CBN is supporting us with about 7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do.

“We will be settling about Fulani herd families. And I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem,,” El-Rufai said.

Continuing, he said, “these herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralize them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is costing 10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna state and I would like to convert them into ranching. Do I have 14 times 10 billion naira? I don’t have.

“If the federal government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion, I will convert the other thirteen into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna state because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck”.

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