The decision of the Governors of 17 Southern States in Nigeria, to ban open cattle grazing in the region has been received with mixed feelings. While those in the Southern part of the country have received this as a welcomed development, many in the North are of the view that it is an infringement on the fundamental rights of the Herdsmen. It is no doubt that every Nigerian has the right to receive and do business in any part of the country, but this can be argued to be different from open cattle grazing.
Herdsmen activities in the Southern part of the country can be argued to be one of the greatest security challenges in the region. Many times, we have witnessed violent clashes between the Herdsman and their host Communities. As if that is not enough, scenes of farmlands destroyed by cattle are no longer new to the people of Southern Nigeria. This has further aggravated the hostility between the Herdsmen and their host Communities.
In a bid to restore peace and security in the Southern Nigeria, the Governors met in Asaba, the Delta State Capital and decide to ban open cattle grazing throughout the region. However, this did not go down well with many. But despite the view of those that are opposed to the ban, it is my belief that the Governors took a good decision, and must be supported. It is no doubt that the free movement of Cows is the remote or immediate cause of some violent clashes that have claimed many lives in the Southern Nigeria.
Cattle rearing is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, neither will the country continue to remain undeveloped. Therefore, as our country's is developing, new methods of cattle rearing must be adopted to fit into the society. Change they say, is constant. As such, the fact that Herdsmen have been moving up and down with their Herds for hundreds of years does not mean it will remain the pattern forever. The adoption of ranching method should be encouraged.
Looking at what the nomadic nature of the Herdsmen have caused in the Southern Nigeria in terms of clashes between the Herders and farmers, and the fact that grazing fields are drastically reducing due to development, one can easily conclude that open cattle grazing in the country is no longer sustainable. As such, the decision of the Southern Governors should be supported. Modern method of cattle rearing should be adopted rather than insisting on open grazing.
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