The Presidency on Monday said the southern governors did not offer any solution in its Asaba resolution that banned open grazing.
A presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved deep-rooted solutions to herdsmen attacks and cleared way for ranching and revival of forest reserves.
Shehu said the announcement by the southern governors was, therefore, of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms across the country regardless of the state of their birth or residence.
He said the declaration had been preempted as Buhari, who had been worried about the problems more than any other citizen in consultation with farmers and herders alike, commissioned and approved an actionable plan of rehabilitating grazing reserves in the states, starting with those that are truly committed to the solution and compliant with stated requirements.
He said Buhari had expressed a strong resolve to address the conflicts of herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner that should lead to the emergence of a permanent solution to the frequent clashes between them as well as the associated problem of the gun-wielding “killer herdsmen.”
He said Buhari had also approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by the Minister of Agriculture in a report he submitted and the president signed off on it back in April.
He said the approval was given by Buhari well before the actions of the Southern Governors Forum which attempted to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate their power.
“It’s very clear that there was no solution offered from their resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in our country for generations.
“But the citizens of the southern states – indeed citizens of all states of Nigeria – have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: ‘not in my state.’
“It’s equally true that their announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) -regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”