Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has revealed why, unlike other Southern states, he will not sign the anti-open grazing law.
According to Ayade, the anti-open grazing legislation that has already been approved in some states could lead to civil war in Nigeria.
The governor, who referred to herders as his brothers, cautioned that if such regulations do not consider the interests of herders and farmers, anarchy will arise, putting the entire country in jeopardy.
The Governor told journalists in his office that his government will create an Open Grazing Management Law that would address the concerns of both farmers and herders.
The Governor stated it was insensitive to make herders’ business illegal by signing the law.
According to Ayade: “How would you as a nation legislate to illegitimacy, a legitimate trade of a people, the nomadic herdsmen? You cannot by law make illegitimate a legitimate trade of a people.
“You have a responsibility as an educated person. We sit in the office and that’s why even though certain governors have made it clear that governors must pass the anti-open grazing law, I have not because I’ve found a solution to it.
“My herdsmen brothers of north or south extraction, to shut down their trades, stay confined in a place whether they have a pasture or not, it doesn’t matter to me.
“So, if I have a brother from Yobe state in a semi-arid condition with no grass and having no money to do irrigation to sustain his pasture, will I make his business illegitimate, shut him down and close him from survival? That is insensitive. What I think is anarchy, a deliberate invitation to war. That is inviting the nation into war.”
Ayade said he opted to find a solution, hence the decision of his government to come up with an “Open Grazing Management Law.”
He added that his administration’s new law would “modulate” to incorporate modern animal husbandry or farming.
Some Southern states have begun to enact anti-open grazing legislation in order to regulate herders within their borders.