Southern governors who are set to hold a meeting in Lagos today are reportedly worried over the insistence by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to carrying on with open grazing across the country.
Naija News recalls that 17 southern governors had after a meeting in Asaba, Delta State, imposed a ban on open grazing in the region.
But President Muhammadu Buhari had directed states to revive cattle grazing routes across the country.
He disclosed that he has asked Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
Buhari said the grazing routes were designated in the 1st Republic when “Nigerians use to obey laws” but those routes had been converted.
“What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the 1st Republic when people were obeying laws,” he said.
But sources have now disclosed to The PUNCH that southern governors are worried over such directive.
A top source close to one of the governors said the southern governors were disturbed about Buhari’s order on grazing routes, adding that they suspected a hidden agenda.
The source also stated, “The governors will meet physically tomorrow (Monday) in Alausa, Lagos. All the 17 governors in Southern Nigeria will be present at the meeting. They will speak on some of the issues they raised in Asaba.”
Asked of the issues that would top agenda at the meeting, another source close to one of the governors in the South-West, South-South and South-East said the governors would deliberate on the pronouncement of the President.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said, “They would discuss the issue of security and open grazing ban. They are going to focus on topical political issues. The governors will be deliberating on the recent order by the President that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recover some lands for herdsmen to graze in the country. They believe it is an agenda to Fulanise the country.”
Also, one of the information managers to one of the governors in the region, said, “The meeting will address killings in spite of the ban on open grazing. Aside from open grazing, restructuring, autonomy for judiciary will also be discussed.
“The attorney general of the federation is not an attorney general of the Federal Government. He is an attorney general of the federation behaving like the attorney general of the Federal Government. So, any case involving anybody with the Federal Government is a lost case because you have an attorney general of the federation behaving like the attorney general of the Federal Government.
“When the southern governors banned open grazing, the AGF declared the act as illegal. They didn’t react when he said that. That is how mature people behave. But tomorrow, the governors will take a position on the Federal Government’s reaction,” the source said.
Asked whether the governors would also discuss the raid by the Department of State Services on the Ibadan house of Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho, the source stated, “Igboho is not nationalistic. The agenda of the Southern governors is broader than Igboho but you can’t rule it out that when they are talking of regional security, they would talk about him.
“They spoke about him when Igboho spoke against herders-farmers crisis but they stopped talking about him the moment some people entered into his head and he started Yoruba nation rally. It is not a right time at all.”