Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has explained why he would not sign the anti-open grazing law, like other Southern states.
Ayade explained that the anti-open grazing law already passed by some states might lead to war in Nigeria.
The governor, who described herdsmen as his brothers, warned that if such laws fail to consider the concerns of herders and farmers, it may lead to anarchy and endanger the entire country.
Addressing journalists in his office, the Governor disclosed that his government would come up with an Open Grazing Management Law that would accommodate both the farmers and herders’ concerns.
The Governor said making herders’ business illegitimate by signing the law was insensitive.
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 stated that the new law by his administration would “modulate” to infuse modern animal farming or husbandry.
Some Southern states have started passing the anti-open grazing law that is aimed at regulating herders within their domains.