Immediate Past Commissioner for Information in Delta State, Mr. Charles Aniagwu on Monday, slammed critics of Southern governors’ ban on open grazing for being selfish and unpatriotic.
The former Commissioner, who spoke on a radio programme “Do it right” on Nework Service of Radio Nigeria, said that the Southern Governors decision to ban open grazing was because of the loss of lives occasioned by the farmers-herders clashes across the country.
He said that the Southern Governors came up with the decision after years of waiting on the Federal Government to resolve the crisis which had impacted negatively on food security in the nation.
According to Aniagwu, those against the ban on open grazing do so based on their sentiments and personal benefits rather than being altruistic and looking at issues patriotically.
“The southern Governors were very very clear and their position is not only for the purpose of the region. There has been alot of security issues, communities being sacked, our people are being killed both in the North and the South.
“The Southern Governors have had cause to wait very patiently for the central government to take a decision to protect the rest of us in line with the provision of section 14 subsection 2 paragraph B of the 1999 constitution and that seem to be very very far and slow in coming and so the best thing to do given the mandate that they enjoy on behalf of the people of the Southern region is to take steps to preserve, protect and indeed guarantee the safety of the people of the region,” he said.
He expressed delight that a good number of altruistic and patriotic people in the north have had cause to agree with the position of the southern leaders.
“You are very much aware of the numbers of clashes and am sure every Nigerians have lost count on the number of clashes that has happened between the herders and the farmers.
“In all of these clashes, who did you think is the aggressor, is it not obvious that the man who left his base and came to another man’s base, the cattle which the herdsman leads to the farm, by the way cattle rearing no doubt is a very wonderful farming contributing to our economy, the cassava, the yam, the corn and other crop grown by the farmer is also his own source of livelihood and is also important to the survival of society.
“When you lead a cattle to graze and eat the cassava, maize of the other farmer who is into crop production, what have you done? you have deprived him from his source of livelihood and that will lead to conflicts.
“So if you dont want that to happen everybody maintain your lane and how do you maintain your lane, as it is done in other developed nations, you have to plan and domesticate these animals, they are not wild animals.
“The cattle needs to be domesticated, put it in a domesticated environment such as the ranch, provide food for the animals, hire people to attend to them and at the end of the day the farmer will also have the opportunity of even growing those things that the cattle also needs to feed on,”
Aniagwu further said that states were expected to forward executive bills to their respective House of Assembly to give vent to the ban on open grazing.
“The Governors are convinced that the decision they have taken will require some form of legislation for the purpose of defining the penalty for those who may go against the law and that is the next step.
“The Asaba Accord was done with integrity and purpose to protect the Nigeria Federation not even just the Southern region because when the people rise the leaders even in the north will not be able to control it.
“Majority of those kicking against the resolution are just being selfish and sentimental because our population has grown in geometric progression far more than the arithmetic progression of our land and everybody must embrace modernity for the good of mankind and the growth of our country,” Aniagwu stated.
He further stated that the owners of the cattle don’t want to invest even as they were not interested in paying tax to the country, adding that,”there is also a slave mentality behind their position.”
“I’m aware that the likes of the President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawan and his co travelers own cows yet they send their children to Ivy League schools while they deploy the services of the children of the poor to roam about in a nomadic fashion with the cows.
“They know that ranching will liberate the poor and innocent Fulani young man and position them to compete with their children.
“Let those who are opposed to modernizing animal husbandry in Nigeria show me their children tending to cattle in the bush. No reasonable Nigerian will let these slave drivers who are bent on keeping the poor perpetually poor and ignorant. We must all rise to break these vicious circle of poverty,” Aniagwu added.