PASTOR Tunde Bakare, general overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, has urged the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to end open grazing presently practised by herdsmen in the country.
He also said there was the need for herdsmen to register in their host communities and states for proper identification.
He made the call when he appeared on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ monitored by The ICIR on Thursday.
The pastor said he would bring the issue of the ‘obsolete’ practice of open grazing to the president when the opportunity availed itself.
Bakare’s comments came amid calls from communities in South-West and North-Central part of the country that herders should leave over concerns related to insecurity.
Some communities across the country have accused herdsmen of invading farmlands, forcing some state governments to enact anti-open grazing laws and ordering registration of herders in their states.
Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor had, on the 18th of January, in a bid to curb kidnapping, rape, destruction of farms by herdsmen, ordered herdsmen to register with the state government or vacate the state’s forest reserves.
The government had said, “These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.”
But the presidency, through Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, while reacting to the governor’s order said the governor had no constitutional powers to ask anybody to leave the state or any part of the state.
But on Thursday, Bakare said, “Open grazing needs to end as nations of the earth have gone beyond the practice and will also solve the myriad of issues associated with open grazing.
“Please, let’s be very very careful not to tear this country apart and I am appealing to all men of goodwill to rise to this occasion. There are four issues involved in this matter that I have considered and by the grace of God, as soon as I have the opportunity, I will also bring to the attention of president.
“We have lived with Fulanis and Fulanis have lived with us across this land. We must separate this agricultural pastoralism from the second thing, which is the terrorist issues in the forest.
“One of the issues is open grazing. I think it’s obsolete and it needs to end. It needs to end because the nations of the earth have gone beyond this. I was in Glasgow, I was in Israel, there are so many things we can do about agricultural pastoralism that will stop all the trouble in our land,” he said.
“We must be careful of indiscriminate violence, and separate terrorists in the forests from agricultural pastoralism. Those who are invading other people’s farms must be stopped. If our laws do not stop them and if property rights are not respected, then the government is not doing what it should do,” he added.