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Why Southwest ban on open/night grazing may not work – Expert

By Bisi Oladele, Southwest Bureau Chief

The pioneer director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Albert, has expressed doubts about the workability of the recent ban on open and night grazing as well as underage herders in the Southwest.

Albert says the ban won’t work if the Federal Government does not support it.

“The governors of the Southwest states do not have the police under their control. Forget about Amoketun; there is a limit to its powers,” the professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies said in an interview in Ibadan.

He said what would make the agreements reached in Akure between the South West governors and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) effective is implementation, which, according to him, is largely within the purview of the Federal Government.

He said: “The Federal Government has been encouraging the herdsmen to believe that they are above the law.

“Even the resolutions passed in Akure on same open grazing won’t work if the Federal Government does not support it.

“After those resolutions, if the Federal Government can come in to make a general announcement that henceforth, we don’t want open and night grazing, and it is pronounced at the federal capital in Abuja, these herdsmen will comply, because the government will send the police to go and enforce the order. If they can’t enforce it, the army will come in to assist them.

“But when you have a presidency that is saying that the herdsmen are entitled to where they are and what they are doing, it is like you have a presidency that is supporting criminality.

“So, how do you manage those two extremes? The state governors are saying we don’t want this around us and the Federal Government is saying you must have it around you. This is what is emboldening the herdsmen because they know that the governors are just making noise which will not amount to anything.”

On the security situation in Oyo State, Albert said the Federal Government is largely responsible for the challenge because the Federal  Government’s  body language encourages and emboldens criminal herdsmen to keep terrorizing helpless citizens across the nooks and crannies of the country.

His words: “To me, I don’t think there is anything happening now that is strange to a scientific analyst. When a Federal Government fails to listen to good people, opinion leaders and traditional rulers, non-state actors will rise to occupy the space.

“It is established in extant literatures. If you don’t want to have the likes of Sunday Igboho, then you must have a state that has the capacity to respond.

“So, when the state is not responding, non-state actors will fill the space. And I think that is what we are witnessing.

“Sunday Igboho wouldn’t have been as popular as he is and be followed by so many young people in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun area if there was an adequate response to the problem.

“I don’t want to go to his past. But what I just want to say is that he took advantage of an existing gap in the security architecture.”

Albert absolved Governor Seyi Makinde of blame, saying: “We have been having security breaches all over the state, not due to the incompetence of the governor but because despite him being the chief security officer of the state, he does not have the resources to act powerfully in that capacity.

“So if people are being killed and kidnapped in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun, the governor does not have the wherewithal to go there to arrest the kidnappers. The best he could do is to talk to the Commissioner of Police and the security agencies in the state.

“But if these people have not been able to arrest the problem, there will be an escalation of the problem and the interpretation of the people will be that the governor has not been defending them.”

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Source: The Nation

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