BEVERLY HILLS, May 15, (THEWILL) – Rivers State’s Governor Nyesom Wike has said there was no going back on the decision of him and his Southern counterparts to ban open grazing across the region.
THEWILL reports that the governors under the aegis of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum (SNGF), had on Tuesday in Asaba, agreed to the ban as parts of efforts to solve the farmer-herder crisis sweeping the country.
The decision has been frowned upon in some quarters like the former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, saying the governors did not consult with the Fulani tribe, renowned for nomadic cattle rearing, while Kogi State’s Governor Yahaya Bello has suggested that a ban on open grazing should only be implemented with adequate plans for cattle ranching.
But speaking at a civic reception organised in his honour by the Ogoni Ethnic Nationality of Rivers State in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area on Saturday, Wike said the decision was irreversible.
He said: “Look, I have been in government, I am in opposition, nobody can cow me.
“Magnus (Abe), they know, their government cannot cow me. I will say what I will say and I will do what is right for my people. Nobody will do me anything. I will die the day God says it is my day. Nobody can take my life when it is not time for me to die. So, let nobody be afraid.
“Let me also use this opportunity to say, all those who are asking why Southern governors should ban grazing –I have taken further steps to fulfil what the Southern governors said in Asaba. If anybody wants to die, go and die and hang yourself on electric pole.
“We have taken a position and we are not going back. Enough is enough; we are not second class citizens of this country. We also own this country and we must partake in what is happening in this country.”
Meanwhile, Wike also tackled the Federal Government on the implementation of the Ogoni environmental cleanup exercise.
“You have said you are coming to clean Ogoniland. Move your office from Port Harcourt and come to Bori. You cannot talk about cleaning up a place and you keep your office in another area; bring your office from Port Harcourt and come and stay in Bori so that you can hear and see the feelings of the people. It is very important”, he said.