Written By David Ugbabe
The Delta State governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, has declared that the Southern Governors owe no apologies for their decision to ban open grazing of cattle and the call for national dialogue to restructure Nigeria.
Recall that the Southern Governors in a meeting hosted by Okowa in Asaba on May 11, 2021 where the decision on the ban was made while calling for the state police and the devolution of power from the Federal Government to the States. Noting that some elements in the Presidency are advocating for the retention of open grazing of cattle, Governor Okowa questioned, “Can we truly at this moment be promoting open grazing?” He therefore said, “We owe no apologies, because we spoke the truth and we thought that the truth we spoke was in the best interest of this nation.”
He stressed that the open grazing of cattle is posing a threat and the growing food insecurity may soon spiral to a tipping point. He said, “We need to begin to look into what is best for us. Where we were 50 years ago should not be where we should be today and tomorrow.” He further added that much money is being spent to encourage farmers and ensure food sufficiency by the Central Bank of Nigeria but the efforts are lost due to insecurity. “Farmers can’t go to farm, their crops are destroyed, they are maimed and raped and some are even killed.
“We cannot continue like this, because if you have a programme you are spending billions on, we must secure it and we must ensure the food security of this country,” he said.
“We may not go into the big ranches but we can start in some form by acquiring some lands for that purpose and it may not be owned by individuals. Government can own the ranches where individuals can come and populate and pay some form of token”, the governor stated.