The No Alternative to Buhari-Osinbajo 2019 (NATBO 2019) has said some state governments’ ban on open grazing would not address the security challenges facing the country.
In a statement by the group’s national coordinator, Vincent G. Uba, he said, “Not too long ago, we began to hear about herdsmen carrying sophisticated arms, getting involved in killings, kidnappings, and other criminal activities. We started to see gory photos and videos on social media and saddening news on the airwaves, of the gruesome murder of persons, allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
“There is, however, no concrete evidence as to whether these crimes were committed by the Fulani herdsmen or not.
“Granted that there could be some bad eggs or criminals within the herders who perpetrate these crimes, it is pertinent to note that criminal tendencies equally obtain in other professions or occupations.
“It would, therefore, be unfair to label the entire herdsmen as criminals. This is in no way an attempt to condone criminality,” he said.
Uba stated that crimes should be condemned and perpetrators punished, no matter who is involved.
He said Nigerians should not subscribe to any undesirable elements invading and destroying crops in farmlands, much less any acts of rape against women and killing of farmers whose only “crime” is trying to protect their farms.
The group urged southern governors and others who have banned open grazing to tread softly, noting that “banning a system that is as old as Nigeria itself is bound to produce rebound effects.
“This will definitely breed more crises and insecurity than is desired to be avoided. Legislating against open grazing without first providing alternative means of herding is likely to fuel more crises and heat up the polity.
“The much talked about ranching is no doubt the way to go, with due consideration taken that the vast number of these people who engage in nomadic herding are illiterates. Educating them (nomadic herders) on the need for a new approach to their way of doing business is key.
“Education is what will eventually solve the problem of open grazing. No educated person will be willing to engage in open grazing as a form of profitable business,” he said.