•Say we’re ready to face whatever it ‘ll cost us
•Add, ‘we won’t back down, despite opposition
•Note we’re prepared to protect our people at any cost
•Ugwuanyi signs anti-open grazing bill into law
By Dayo Johnson
Governors of the 17 southern states of the federation will tomorrow converge on Enugu for their third meeting.
Recall that the governors had met twice, the maiden meeting in Asaba, Delta State, and the second in Lagos.
At the maiden meeting in Asaba, the governors had set a September 1 deadline for all the southern states to enact anti-open grazing law, which was further accentuated during the second meeting in Lagos on July 5.
Although the agenda of tomorrow’s meeting was not disclosed by the host, Enugu State government yesterday, Vanguard gathered that the meeting will review how far the states had gone in coming up with an anti-grazing law.
Vanguard also gathered that the governors would look at the threat issued by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore recently that it would take by force lands in southern states which had enacted a law against open grazing.
At the end of the September 1 deadline for the state to enact a law against open grazing, only about six states had enacted a law against the practice.
However, since after the expiration of the deadline, southern states such as L:agos, Rivers and Akwa Ibom, had come up with an anti-grazing law.
Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is said to have completed preparations for the meeting.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, declared yesterday that governors in the region would stand by the ban on open grazing and be ready to face whatever it will cost them.
Akeredolu pointedly declared that the governors won’t back down on the ban on open grazing, insisting they were ready to face the consequences.
The governor, who spoke while receiving the Pastorate of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, led by the State Overseer, Pastor Jacob Asubiojo, in Akure, said: “They’ are gathering together, planning evil, pray for us, Their evil will not work. We,. as governors, are prepared to protect our people at any cost.
“We would ensure that farmers are saved from losing their farm crops as a result of the outdated open grazing practice.
“I want to urge you to intensify your prayers for us. We need it. You have referred to our efforts in trying to secure our homeland.
“We have made efforts, we established Amotekun and banned open grazing. It is not what is pleasing to everybody. Some people are not pleased with us. We are ready to stand by it and face whatever it will cost us. Pray for us.
”Amotekun and the anti-open grazing law are not pleasing to some people and they are gathering together, planning evil. Pray for us. Their evil will not work.
“What we are saying is that your herds cannot keep destroying our crops. The FAO has come and we have discussed it.”
Akeredolu, who noted that the efforts made on Amotekun and the outlawing of open grazing were not targeted at anyone, stressed that the need to protect the people and ensure mutual understanding informed the development.
He said members of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in the state were ready to cooperate with his administration on the open grazing ban.
” The Meyetti-Allah here in Ondo appears to want to cooperate with us because they know that when their cows destroy crops, we seize their cows and they pay the farmers before they are released.
“The FAO will train them on how to do feedlot. They will be trained to make feed and take it to the cows. We are not discriminating against anybody.
“We just want to make it clear that you can’t make your own ends meet and destroy other people’s source of livelihood. We know your prayers are very important to us. We need it.”
Earlier, the State Overseer of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor Asubiojo, commended the governor over his efforts to keep the state as one of the leading states in the country.
Asubiojo said: ” l want to specially commend the effort of the governor in the area of security. As far as I’m concerned, in this our South West, I can say Ondo State is number one. You are doing a lot.
Ugwuanyi signs anti-open grazing bill into law
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has signed the anti-open grazing bill into law, at the Government House, Enugu.
The bill which is for a law to prohibit open grazing, regulate cattle ranching, and for connected purposes was recently passed by the Enugu State House of Assembly.
Recall that the Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, had explained after the passage of the bill, that it would be cited as the “Prohibition of Open Grazing and Cattle Ranching Law of Enugu State” after the governor’s assent.
Gov. Ugwuanyi’s assent to this bill is expected to improve security and peace in the state.