The foremost pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has thrown its full weight behind the declaration of a total ban on open grazing by governors of the 17 states in the Southern part of Nigeria.
Afenifere’s position was contained in a statement by the acting leader of the organisation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
“Afenifere is in total support of the position of these governors. Belated as it was; As the saying goes, it is better late than never,” he said.
According to him, when Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State enacted the law and he was being vilified left and right by the Fulani herders, that was when these governors ought to have stood up with him.
“It could be recalled that when Ortom was being attacked for enacting the law and he ran to President Muhammadu Buhari, rather than giving him the necessary backing, the President asked him to go and make peace with those who were harassing his people. A similar thing occurred when Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State gave a related order in his state.
“That was when other governors should have stood up and speak with one voice. They ought to remember the saying: an injury to one is an injury to all. Their failure to do so then was what gave the herders the audacity to spread their dastardly act to other states to the extent of openly daring the governors,” the Afenifere leader said.
Adebanjo, who commended the governors for their present stand, expressed the hope that they would back their declaration with necessary actions.
“Now that the governors have woken up, it is hoped that they would put all necessary machinery in motion to ensure that open grazing is stopped with immediate effect in all the states, particularly in the South. Open grazing is anachronistic, it is obsolete, it is no longer fashionable,” he added.
At the end of their meeting in Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday, governors of the Southern states called for total ban on open grazing to forestall the incessant farmers-herders clashes.