17 Governors of southern states – came under attack by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai yesterday.
He chided them for enacting the Anti-Open Grazing Law in their domains, the Kaduna governor said the law is “not implementable”.
He accused them of “politicising” the herders/farmers crisis, which led the states to decide on making law.
They gave themselves a September deadline.
The governors have met three times this year under the banner of the Southern Governors Forum at Asaba, Lagos and last week in Enugu.
El-Rufai, speaking at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat on the herders/farmers crisis said it is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution.
“What is unhelpful is the politicizing of the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement.”
El-Rufai added: “The Northern States Governors Forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.
“But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to plan, we have to have resources and we have to implement it
Explaining steps taken by his government to address the issue, El-Rufai said he had embarked on the construction of a ranch that will take care of over 1500 Fulani herders families at the cost of N10 billion.
“In my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution. But can it be done overnight? No”.
“This project we are doing will cost us about 10 billion nairas. The CBN is supporting us with about N7.5billion. And it will take about two years to do. We will be settling about 1500 Fulani herder families.
“I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem.”
Shedding more light, the governor said, “We need billions of Naira. This is just one ranch that is costing N10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State and I will like to convert them into ranching. Do I have 14 times 10 billion nairas? I don’t have.
“If the federal government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion, I will convert the other thirteen into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna State because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck.”
Defending the position of South’s governors, their spokesman and Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, while signing the anti-open grazing bill in his state, said it would help to end the farmer-herder conflicts.
“It is a very laudable development aimed at stemming needless instances of skirmishes, conflicts as well as infractions on the enviably peaceful disposition of the good people of Ondo State.
“The law will engender a more cordial, mutually benefiting relationship amongst residents of the state irrespective of ethnicity, religion or creed. For emphasis, no particular group of persons is the target,” he explained.
El-Rufai refused to make comments on the recent defection of a former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani Kayode into the APC.
“Some things I don’t comment upon. I don’t comment on the decision and actions of the leaders of the party. They have the job of running the party and they have to make the judgment on who to bring into the party, and you know politics is a game of addition. So you want to add and add. And they have taken that decision. But I don’t comment on that because they are the ones running the party. If I bring someone to Kaduna and you ask the Kaduna state government to explain I will explain. I don’t know how to run the party. I was deputy national secretary for a short while and it was the only experience I had in party management. So I don’t comment on that”.