Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his Taraba State counterpart Darius Ishaku should be held responsible for killings taking place in their states because of their short sighted, unfair and illegal passing of Anti-Open Grazing laws which seek to expel some Nigerian citizens from their states, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko [APC, Sokoto Central] said in Abuja yesterday. Wamakko, who is the former governor of Sokoto State, said rather than seek a level headed solution to the problem of clashes between farmers and herders by involving all stakeholders, the two governors went for a measure that is selfish and political and which has now backfired by igniting more crises and killings.
Wamakko, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, said clashes between farmers and pastoralists have existed for many decades but are worsening in recent years due to population pressure. Governors, he said, could lessen the crises by being fair to all since every Nigerian is allowed by the constitution to live in any part of the country and pursue his legitimate means of livelihood. He also condemned the tendency by politicians and news media to blame the pastoralists for all the violence, saying the herders too are often attacked in the rural communities and their cattle are rustled. Measures such as the Anti-Open Grazing law adopted by Ortom and Ishaku aggravate the problem because it encourages some people to take the law into their own hands and try to drive the pastoralists out of their states, he said.
Senator Wamakko called for a national stakeholders’ summit to seek a nation-wide solution to the problem. He said unless the Federal Government takes the lead and works out a solution, some unscrupulous state governors will continue to play politics with the issue and promote self-serving solutions for their electoral benefit while people continue to get killed and maimed.