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Professionals decry flouting of grazing ban by herdsmen

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President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: FACEBOOK/Femi Adesina

The League of Professionals for Strategic Advocacy, yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of aiding and abetting herdsmen to flout the anti-open grazing laws of the 17 southern states’ governors.

It alleged that President Buhari was backing the attacks and killings being perpetrated by Fulani cattle herders in the country, insisting that his directive to Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to restore the 1960 gazette grazing routes was a pointer to that effect.

It argued that after reviewing President Buhari’s interview on Arise Television of June 10, 2021, the group concluded that the president was committed to supporting the attacks on farmers and farming communities by Fulani cattle herders.

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In a statement issued in Asaba by its Convener, Pince Obaro Unuafe, Chairman, Pius Mordi and Secretary, Fred Akpewe, the group faulted Buhari’s submissions during the interview.

“At a time when all stakeholders in the Nigerian project, especially Northern governors and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) had welcomed the southern governors’ decision to ban open grazing of cattle, the President chose to torpedo what was supposed to be an enduring resolution of the herders attacks,” it said.

They lamented that President Buhari described the killer herders as foreigners, while their local counterparts wield only sticks and machetes.

“With no action taken to arrest the ‘foreign killer-herders’ despite the thousands of lives lost in the attacks and several communities displaced, he assured that his administration is trying to resuscitate the cattle routes, grazing areas and make them accountable.

“Apparently taking a cue from their mentor and the president, the cattle breeders threatened to unleash their killers on Delta State with Asaba and Agbor as their start off points if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa failed to withdraw his support for the ban on open grazing within 72 hours.

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“Their targeting Okowa and Delta State is a reference to the fact that the governor hosted his southern colleagues at the May 11, 2021 meeting in Asaba where crucial decisions were taken.

President Buhari who had earlier chided the 17 southern governors through Malami, for proposing measures to protect their people, said he directed the minister to unearth the gazette that reserved grazing routes across the country.

The group said the president’s statement and its timing was designed to frustrate implementation of the ban and encourage the killer herders in their murderous campaign.

“We urge all Nigerians, especially those in the southern part of the country, to be mindful of the fact that we are contending with a leadership that is largely suspect in its claim to fight attacks by Fulani militants.

“It is now imperative that all the southern states yet to legislate on the ban on open grazing should expedite the process of getting their state Houses of Assembly to pass the bill,” it stated.

They also accused Malami of evading his reponsibility of properly guiding Buhari on the path of respecting the constitution, adding: “He has proven not to be an Attorney-General of the entire country, but President Buhari’s Attorney-General. He has subverted his sacred duty to defend the constitution and guide the president to tread on lawful path.”

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