A herder watches his cows graze outside of the village of Koboga, Nigeria, Sept. 4, 2018. Conflicts between farmers and herdsmen vying for land, which mirror the 20th Century range wars in the American West, are turning more violent. (Adriane Ohanesian/The New York Times)
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Northern governors: Open grazing unsustainable, unfashionable

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A temporary headstart appears to have been achieved as the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) declared open grazing as unsustainable, unfashionable and out-of-date.

The governors bared their minds in a communiqué released at the end of their virtual meeting presided over by the NSGF chairman and Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong.

“The current system of herding mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable, in view of growing urbanisation and population of the country,” the governors said.

They opted for ranching instead of the open grazing system that had caused serious crisis in the South particularly Southwest.

“The meeting resolved to sensitise herders on the need to adopt new methods of herding, either by ranching or other acceptable modern methods.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to support states with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that would serve as a springboard for the full implementation of new methods of livestock production.

“We call on political leaders to isolate criminality and social groups in their domains with a view to treating criminals like criminals and condemn every form of criminality whether from herders, hunters or farmers occupying forest reserves illegally,” the statement said.

Noting with concern the growing wave of insecurity in the country, the forum said it was working assiduously to contain the tension generated by the eviction order issued to criminal herdsmen in some parts of the country with threats of reprisals.

The forum stressed the urgent need for the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to meet and discuss the issue holistically, to resolve all areas of misunderstanding and conflict arising from threats and suspicion, for the sake of national unity.

To this end, a four-man committee was put in place to be headed by the chairman of NSGF.

It urged citizens particularly from the Northern part of the country to continue to live in peace with all Nigerians irrespective of their background.

The governors also called for restraint on the part of leaders especially from the South on the herders’ crisis.

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