The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said only persons with valid travel documents should cross borders with their livestock, adding that people from outside the country must respect state legislations that regulate grazing.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, noted that despite the adoption of the 1978 Economic Community of West African States’ protocol on free movement, the Nigerian Immigration Service needs to ensure that only persons with valid travel documents cross the borders with livestock.
The NGF chairman stated this in Abuja on Thursday, while delivering a paper at the National Institute for Security Studies Executive Management Course.
The paper was titled, ‘Farmers-herders conflicts in Nigeria: Implications for national security.’
Fayemi called for the enactment of appropriate legislative frameworks and strategies that would help to regulate incessant cases of farmers-herders conflicts and the attendant loss of lives and property in the country.
He noted that the fatalities recorded from the farmers-herders clashes outnumbered those of the insurgency in the North-East, adding that Nigeria had been losing about $14bn yearly to the farmers-herders clashes.
The governor said, “As policymakers, we must be humble enough to admit that the narative around the farmers-herders crisis, in terms of being mindful of sensitivities and the use of polarising terminologies and concepts, leaves room for improvement.
“From the evolution of the discourse on major issues such as the anti-grazing laws which have been passed into law in Ekiti, Benue and Taraba states, to colonies, the Ruga settlement phenomenon, the ranching options, we have not done enough to properly manage the various narratives or interpretations that emerged from this problem.
“The Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs must be more proactive in monitoring the country’s borders.
“Transhumance across our national borders is an inevitable occurrence and has been in place even prior to the adoption of the 1978 ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods. Despite this, immigration authorities need to ensure that only persons with valid travel documents can cross borders with livestock.
“Where state legislations are in place to regulate grazing, those from outside Nigeria must respect the laws and conduct themselves in accordance with the relevant legislation.”
The governor, while speaking on the National Livestock Transformation Plan, said the project “implementation process still has a long way to go, and is not entirely perfect.”
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