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Open grazing Ban: Southern governors have declared war--–Miyetti Allah

 Open grazing Ban: Southern governors have declared war--–Miyetti Allah One of the umbrella bodies of herdsmen in Nigeria, the Miyetti Allah...

 Open grazing Ban: Southern governors have declared war--–Miyetti Allah

One of the umbrella bodies of herdsmen in Nigeria, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has described the ban of open grazing in Southern Nigeria by the governors in the region as an “empty policy”.

The group also said Southern governors have declared war on the herders with the pronouncement of open grazing ban.

Spokesman for the group, Saleh Alhassan, spoke on Monday in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that about 17 southern governors met on Tuesday in Asaba and resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region as some kidnappings and killings in the Southern region have been traced to criminal elements amongst herders. The persistent clashes between farmers and herders in the region might have also been responsible for the open grazing ban.

But the governors’ resolution also known as the Asaba Accord has raised dust, especially in Northern Nigeria, with many critics including Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; and Senators Ali Ndume from Borno South Senatorial District, amongst others.

Speaking also with The PUNCH on Monday, the Miyetti Allah spokesman, who condemned the ban, said the herders were also victims of the insecurity in the country, adding that the group was collaborating with security agencies to fish out perpetrators of crimes in the country.

Alhassan said, “We condemn it, it is totally unacceptable to us. You can’t ban our business without providing ranches. Let them create ranches for us, we don’t have the land, we are ready to ranch, we are ready to pay, let them create the enabling environment for us.

“The ban is an empty policy because it has no basis. You can’t ban our business, we are not criminals, let them go after the bandits and the criminals.”

“We can’t comply with an empty policy. If they create ranches and ask us to go there, we will go there but they can’t wake up one day and say they are banning our business.

“If the governors are stopping us from grazing, they are preparing for confrontation. Their action is a declaration of war on the herders,” he told The PUNCH.

When asked whether Miyetti Allah would dialogue with the Southern governors, the spokesman said, “Their colleagues in the north will engage them since it is politics.”

Alhassan further said the group would take legal actions against the Southern governors if they stopped the business of the nomadic herders.

“If you stop our legitimate business, we will challenge you in the court of law. We also have cultural ways of addressing injustice,” he said.

Alhassan, however, emphasised the need for tolerance in Nigeria, adding that “remaining united is easier than dividing the country”.

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