The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has warned the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, not to incite ethnic violence with his recent statement on banning of open grazing in southern Nigeria.
The governor added that Malami’s statement is most unfortunate as the AGF compared the sale of auto spare parts in the north to the ban on open grazing.
Malami had last week during an interview said the decision of the southern governors in their recent meeting in Asaba, Delta State, where they agreed to ban open grazing in region could be compared to banning of spare part in the southern states.
But Akeredolu said the comparison was unfortunate and uncalled for, showing the state of the AGF’s mind.
The Ondo State governor spoke at the 2021 Nigerian Bar Association – Spidel annual conference tagged; “The role of public interest in governance in Nigeria” held in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Akeredolu added that the decision of the governors at the meeting was irreversible.
Akeredolu said, “The Southern governors in our meeting in Asaba took a decision and banned open grazing in the southern part of the country – that, I have said in my response to the Attorney-General, is irreversible. I maintain it. I am happy that for one reason or the other, I had to be in Ibadan on Sunday. I could not attend the All Progressives Congress South West Leaders’ Forum held in Lagos on Sunday. The forum also came up to support my position in that respect.
“The statement made by the Attorney-General of the Federation, comparing ban of open grazing with spare parts selling in the North is most uncalled for, and that has shown his own mindset, and I do not have any apology for saying it.
“Our position in the Southern Governors’ Forum is that we made efforts and said we owe a duty to herders. We cannot continue this lifestyle that is not productive. If the Federal Government will come and assist people in so many fields, animal husbandry is another form of farming that needs assistance. If you are spending on those who are involved in rice cultivation, why can’t you spend money on those who are involved in animal husbandry?
“The only way we can do that is to take them off this anachronistic of having to herd cows from Kara Mammuda to Lagos. It does not make sense, not in this country. It is for us to encourage ranching. The Federal Government should assist states that want to establish ranches.
“You will see a herder and you will see how poor he looks, and you will see his herds worth millions. Then, there must be some problems. So, he is being used by other people. If the herds belong to him, he is a millionaire. But he is not the owner. Those who own the cows, let them find a way so that they would not have to send these poor men from Sokoto to Ibadan.
“So, I believe that the comparison of spare parts selling to ban on open grazing is most unfortunate. I believe and I want to warn, I hope it is not intended to incite some people against another tribe.
“The Bureau De Change, we know those who run them. We have not asked them to leave. Somebody said to me that he has not said Aliko Dangote should leave Lagos. Can he leave? Is he not a Fulani man? He is there, doing his legitimate business. We are not against it. But we are opposed to criminality and we will fight it with all we have.
“Nobody will put us under any stress. We are totally opposes to criminality. People are there, occupying our forest, kidnapping our people, and we will just keep quite? No, we are not like that.”