Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday, described the verbal attack on the forum by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State as devious and a hysteric ploy to externalise banditry.
Governor el-Rufai had said that Southern governors were making laws that are not implementable.
Akeredolu, who spoke through his Information and Orientation Commissioner, Mr. Donald Ojogo, said: “From all indications, Governor el-Rufai, if he was properly quoted and his views not misrepresented, is struggling hard to export banditry to the South, under an expressed opinion that is laced with mischief.
“In these days and times, anyone who makes statements such as that allegedly made by the governor belongs to a class of an unenviable ilk masquerading as a leader.
“There is no wisdom in condemning or banning open grazing, prohibiting the inter-border movement of cattle in the North, including Kaduna, with accompanying disapproval of a Law that gives bite to same, in another part of the country.
“Perhaps, it is apt to state clearly that the likes of el-Rufai are already in a hysteric ‘mode’ of escalating and, indeed, externalising banditry, especially as the military onslaught against criminal elements and other terror variants suffices in the North.
“For emphasis, any such comment like that of the Kaduna governor, if indeed he made that statement, merely seeks to encourage anarchy under the guise of “resentment of a law by affected stakeholders.
“In other words, it is a cleverly crafted path towards replicating in the South, the most despicable situation in the North that Nigerians of goodwill daily pray to overcome. It’s a ploy beyond the ordinary.
“It must, however, be noted that the Anti-Grazing Law, especially in Ondo State, has come to stay.
“It shall be zealously guarded and conscionable deployed to protect all residents of Ondo State, notwithstanding their ethnic and religious biases. Those who have nothing evil to perpetrate have nothing to fear as regards the law.”
We’ll obey law, says Osun Fulani herders
Meanwhile, Fulani herders in Osun State have vowed to abide by the Anti-Open Grazing law recently signed by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
The herders, who spoke through the Seriki Fulani and the Secretary in the State, Ibrahim Babatunde and Oluwatoyin Yusuf, said they were scared with the passage but upon adequate explanation, they are ready to cooperate with the government to ensure proper implementation.
They spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the state government to enlighten Fulanis, Bororo and herders on the Anti-Open grazing law, held at Job centre, Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo in Osun State,
Babatunde said: “We were living in fear when the bill was first passed into law because of the threat we received from some people.
“But with this meeting and enlightenment on the basis for the law, we are happy that it is meant to maintain the already existing good relationship with people in the state.”
Law not meant to witch-hunt anyone—Oyetola
On his part, Governor Oyetola said the law is not to witch-hunt Fulani herders across the southern states.
The Governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye said: “The law on open grazing is not to witch hunt the Fulani, Bororo and herders but to protect all the residents of the state. The law will help the already existing harmonious relationship that we are enjoying in the state.
“It will make it very easy to identify intruding herders coming into the state, who may be fomenting trouble and tagging the leadership of the herders and the Fulani. This law will help the existing committee of the state government, Committee on Peaceful coexistence between Fulani/Bororo and Crop Farmers, direct attention of the government to promote the business and welfare of herders in the state.”
“The reason we called this meeting is to enlighten you about the law and also get feedback from you to know the next line of action in making it easy for you to abide by the law that has just been enacted.?