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No apologies on ban of open grazing, restructuring, others, says Okowa

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Ifeanyi Okowa


Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, reprimanded critics of southern governors over their decision to ban opening grazing of cattle in the south, restructuring of the country and other demands at its meeting in Asaba.

Expressing surprise and disappointment that some individuals in the presidency are still canvassing retention of open grazing of cattle, he said: “We owe no apologies, because we spoke the truth and we thought that the truth was in the best interest of the country.

“Can we truly be promoting open grazing at this moment, seeing all the atrocities being committed across the country? The president was misrepresented, because I have seen news headlines that the president has not opposed the ban on open grazing. We need to reconsider our best options. Where we were 50 years ago should not be where we should be today and tomorrow.”

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He acknowledged that it might not be a one-day affair, adding that the process has to start and there must be a programme in which the people must begin to take some actions over what they know was clearly wrong.

Okowa warned that Nigeria’s growing food insecurity might soon spiral to a tipping point on account of the threat posed by open grazing, adding: “Today, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is spending a lot of money to encourage farmers to ensure that we are food sufficient, but some of efforts are lost, because of insecurity.

“Farmers can’t go to farm, their crops are destroyed, they are maimed and raped and some killed. We cannot continue like this, because if you have a programme on which you are spending billions, we must secure it and we must ensure food security of this country.

“In some parts of Taraba State, ranching has been on for so many several years and we can actually create ranches where the cattle will have more meat, more milk and children can go to school.”

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He had earlier advocated a new constitution, as against amendment, to accommodate good governance and greater interest of Nigerians when Senate sub-Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution, led by James Manager, visited him in Asaba.

He told the committee that a new Constitution had become imperative in view of the inadequacies in the 1999 Constitution, adding however, that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) would continue to be in operation until a new one was ready.

On state police, Okowa said the way the federal police was presently structured, they won’t be able to police the country effectively, adding: “We are not saying that they are incompetent, but when the police hierarchy is already asking for vigilantes, they are calling for state police.

“So, state police can be organised in a way that it assists the federal security structure, because the level of insecurity in the country now is too high and we need to do something about it very quickly.”

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