By Marie-Therese Nanlong – Jos
In view of the growing population and urbanization, Governors from the 19 Northern States in Nigeria under the auspice of Northern Governors’ Forum have unanimously agreed that the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable and called for intensive sensitization of herdsmen to adopt new methods in carrying out their trade.
The governors harped on the need to adopt new methods of herding by ranching or other acceptable modern methods even as they appealed to the Federal Government to support States with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that will serve as springboard and evidence for breaking resistance to the full implementation of new methods of livestock production.
Expressing their concerns in a communique issued at the end of an emergency virtual meeting held on Monday, where issues affecting the region in particular and the nation, in general, was discussed, the governors noted there was a need to urgently tackle the issues raised for the good of the region.
Making the decisions known in a statement, Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, said current issues are already heating the fragile security situation in the country.
According to the communique. “The Forum noted with concern the growing wave of insecurity in the country particularly as it relates to the circulation of unverified video clips on social media portraying violent attacks on persons in some parts of the country.
“Therefore, Forum called on political leaders to segregate between criminality and social groups in their domains with a view to treating criminals like criminals.
“The Forum reiterates that it condemns every form of criminality whether from herders, hunters, or farmers occupying forest reserves illegally.
“Noted with concern the tension generated by the eviction order issued to herdsmen in some parts of the country, expressed concern that this is heating the already fragile security atmosphere with threats of reprisals which the Northern Governors are working assiduously to contain.
“Stresses the urgent need for the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet and discuss the issue holistically with a view to resolving all areas of misunderstanding and conflicts arising from these threats and suspicion for the sake of national unity.”
It added that “The Forum notes with concern that the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable in view of growing urbanization and population of the country.
“Consequently, Forum resolved to aggressively sensitize herdsmen on the need to adopt new methods of herding by ranching or other acceptable modern methods.
“Appeals to the Federal Government to support States with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that will serve as springboard and evidence for breaking resistance to the full implementation of new methods of livestock production.
“Resolved to engage elders and youths in a robust discussion with a view to dousing the tensed security environment in the north and called on all the citizens of the north to continue to live in peace with all Nigerians irrespective of their origins and backgrounds.”