The Presidency has demanded respect from Southern Governors for President Muhammadu Buhari and also asked them to “respect common sense”.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Buhari, also described the ban by the country’s Southern Governors on open grazing as ‘show of power’.
Seventeen governors in Southern Nigeria, under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum, recently met in Asaba, Delta State, to discuss insecurity and secession agitations, among other issues.
One of their resolutions at the meeting was to ban open grazing in the region, blaming it for insecurity and farmers/herders’ clashes.
The Presidency had swiftly described the resolution as Unconstitutional, saying Buhari would unveil a solution to crisis which would include use of grazing reserves. Many state governments have however insisted that they will not support any initiative other than ranching.
Shehu, who appeared on Arise TV News programme on Tuesday, said the southern governors failed to proffer solutions to the problem of insecurity beyond the move to ban open grazing.
“The objectives of both the Southern Governors and the President in terms of putting an end to open grazing are the same but different approach.
“President Buhari wants end to open grazing. He wants to see ranching and he wants it done in an organised manner,” he said.
The presidential aide who urged the governors to respect the President and respect common sense, said it was wrong for them to generalise and consider all herders as criminals.
“People are talking about land, one particular Governor is even warning, saying President, keep off my state, don’t come here with this thing. What is all this about? I think they should respect the President and respect common sense.
“The President seeks to end roaming of herders across our land, he wants them to be confined in a specific places where their cattle will get the basic needs. The President said, this is the plan for the states that are willing.
“Nobody is forcing any state to do what they don’t like. The statement clearly says that, any state that is willing and meet the basic requirements. I am sure that those that say no to it now, in due time we change their minds when they see the workability,” he said.
He described any blanket ban on movement of herders without providing alternatives for them as show of power.
“The problem is when you slam a ban and you don’t say what next, what option, what are the alternatives, how do we go forward. That is show of power.
“Let’s work together, both governors and President have same objectives but different methods,” he added.