ETHNIC body the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association (Gafdan) has warned that the recent decision by the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) to ban open grazing across the country will lead to a breakdown of peace between north and south Nigeria.
In May, the Southern Governors Forum met in the Delta State capital Asaba where among other things, they agreed to ban open grazing. This decision was recently affirmed at a follow-on meeting in Lagos, where the governors from the 17 states that make up southern Nigeria reiterated that all cattle had to be reared in ranches.
Rejecting the decision of the SGF, Gafdan said that a ban on open grazing would lead to a breakdown of peace between northerners and southerners. Gafdan general secretary Ibrahim Abdullahi, described the resolution as unfortunate and capable of affecting Nigeria’s unity, saying it would create hatred between northerners and southerners.
Mr Abdullahi added: “If you stop open grazing in the south, you are simply saying that those people should move to the north or they should move to other parts of the country. What happens if those in the north also ask the southerners to leave?
“Are we promoting unity or hatred? What the governors are saying is practically impossible and it does not promote the unity of this country.
“You don’t stop people’s means of living and expect peace to reign, so, the implication is that the unity of Nigeria is going to be in question. You don’t expect those that will be affected to return to the north and live in peace with people from the south living in the north.”
He added that the resolution was impossible because they have not made an alternative plan for herders. Several other northern organisations have also expressed their opposition to the ban with herdsmen body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria saying that of the southern governors want to blackmail the north, they may lose the presidency in 2021.