GOVERNOR Aminu Masari of Katsina State has thrown his support behind the recent declaration by the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) banning open grazing across their states describing the nomadic practise of herders as un-Islamic.
Earlier this month, the SGF met in Asaba, the Delta State capital where among other things, it banned open grazing and called for the restructuring of the federation. Most civil society groups in Nigeria have welcomed the moves, saying it will help address the ongoing violence in the country but several northern governors have opposed the ban.
However, Governor Masari, who state has borne the brunt of bandit attacks lately, has thrown his weight behind the southern governors. Speaking at Government House in Katsina as part of activities marking the second year of his second term in office, the governor argued that necessary infrastructure on livestock farming should be provided in states to discourage herders against wandering from one place to another.
Governor Masari said: “This is something we have to do through development and provide necessary infrastructure that will make the herders not to move. Why should herders from Katsina move to other states?
“The herders’ movement is essentially in search of two things water and fodder. If we can provide these two items, why should they move?”
“This roaming about I don’t think. For us, it’s un-Islamic and is not the best. It is part of the problem we are having today. I don’t support that we should continue with the way open grazing is.”
On devolution of power through restructuring, Governor Masari argued that the states urgently needed resources to implement what should have been implemented at the federal level. He added that he supports devolution totally.
Governor Masari added: “If today, the states will support the police, the police system will go up. If the states withdraw their support to security agencies, they won’t be able to move here to there.
“So, I absolutely support devolution in totality. So as a government of Katsina we should be allowed by the constitution, within the constitution to decide on many things that are peculiar to us.
“The federal government should have a benchmark and people should not operate beyond this mark. Lagos State is generating up to N400bn and something billion, while Katsina State is just generating N2bn, so I expect that with proper restructuring, states should own what they earn from within their state.