Ondo, Delta, Cross River, Enugu, Benue and Akwa Ibom state governments on Sunday faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari over the existence of a gazette, which marked out grazing routes for cattle across the country.
Officials of the state governments, who stated this in separate interviews with The PUNCH, also insisted on the ban on open grazing despite the President’s opposition to it.
Recall that Southern governors at their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, last month banned open grazing as part of measures to address killings by herdsmen.
But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, faulted the governors, saying their action was like banning the sale of spare parts in the North.
Despite criticism Malami’s statement attracted, Buhari, during an interview with Arise Television on Thursday, supported open grazing.
He said he had directed Malami to produce a gazette, which delineated grazing routes in all parts of the country in the First Republic.
The President stated, “What I did was to ask him to go and dig the gazette of the First Republic when people were obeying laws. There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) were moving up country, north to south or east to west. They had to go through there.”
In his reaction, the Chairman South-South Governors’ Forum and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, said as of 1963, the state had not been created.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Olise Ifeajika, stated, “Yes, Mr President directed the AGF to dig out a gazette of 1963 which marked out cattle routes across the country.
“Delta State has no such law because the 1963 gazette he talked about does not in exist in the state.”
On Buhari’s support for open grazing, Okowa said whether the President backed it or not, the governors in the South had made their position on the ban on open grazing known and nothing would change it. “We stand by our resolutions,” he stated.