With the exception of Imo state, other Southern states’ governors have put paid to open grazing of animals within their respective territories. Some states have completed and signed the anti-open grazing law to drive the ban on open grazing of animals. This is a welcome idea to many people, as the challenges posed by the age-long nomadic behavior of crisscrossing territories with animals cannot be condoned anymore.
With the ban in place, there has not been a clear-cut alternative provided for the herders that will be directly affected by the restriction that is now in place. There would still be a need for herders to keep their herds in a location. Will Southern state governors provide specific locations for the headers to disembark their animals? Or are they going to ask all herders to leave the region with immediate effect?
There is a need for the provision of holding places where herders must tend to their animals and from which animals must not be allowed to stray. Unless the governors are saying that herders should leave their states completely, which is not the case to the best of my understanding. Such holding places will become home for both the herders and their animals, no matter how short their stay is. By default, the holding places that would be created would become ranches.
At some point when the challenges of herders’ activities peaked in the South, one of the options on the burner was ranching. Southerners vehemently rejected it. Today, it may have come to stay with the ban on open grazing of animals. The whole affair is like a river path. If it is blocked, another path has to be created to prevent the river flow from forcing its way through places that could not be pleasant for all involved.
Anti-open grazing will create other challenges for both the government and citizens. Governments will have to spend money, however little, in setting up ranches or holding places for herders. This is necessary to make it habitable for use. In the course of making land available for ranching, governments could be at loggerheads with citizens who may lose ancestral lands. Another challenge would be that some communities will have to live as neighbors with the ranches that will be created.
From the foregoing, it has become clear that we wasted time resisting ranching at a time when it was one of the options for tackling the herdsmen menace. With the ban, Southern governors have chosen to allow the ranching of cattle inadvertently.
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