By Tordue Salem
Members of the minority parties from the 19 northern states in the House of Representatives, have thrown their weight behind the southern governors’ resolution to ban open grazing and embrace restructuring of the country.
The position of the caucus was contained in a statement Thursday in Abuja signed on its behalf by Rep. Amos Gwamna (Kaduna), Rep. Solomon Maren (Plateau), Rep. Rimande Shawulu (Taraba), Rep. Mark Gbillah (Benue), Rep. Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi) and Rep. Usman Sokodabo (FCT).
The lawmakers said the decision of the governors was apt and the only solution to the worsening insecurity and general discontent among ethnic nationalities in the country.
The group advised President Muhammadu Buhari to accept the decision of the southern governors and immediately commence the process of restructuring and enacting a national law against open grazing.
“We, members of the minority from the north hereby call on President Buhari to heed the genuine advice of governors from the south and immediately address the nation to assuage frayed nerves.
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“The president should also put machinery in place for the commencement of the process of restructuring the nation and initiate a legislation to end open grazing, which has been at the centre of the lingering insecurity across the nation”
The group also noted that “In order to regain the confidence of majority of Nigerians, the president must begin to redress his skewed appointments, which have unfortunately divided the nation along ethnic and religious lines”
The caucus said it is happy that the southern governors have finally come to terms with the negative effects of open grazing, which states in the north-central and other parts of the north have been battling with for decades.
“We commend the governors for taking the bold move to speak against open grazing and other ills bedeviling the nation. Benue state had the foresight and enacted a law banning open grazing and was closely followed by Taraba state.
“Unfortunately, these states have not gotten the desired support from the federal government thereby creating room for some elements to undermine the implementation of the law.
“It is disheartening that in the 21st century, Nigeria still allows pastoralists to move with cattle on foot. This is an anachronistic and archaic practice that has been phased out in all civilised societies and Nigeria must not be left out in endorsing ranching and modern farming techniques”