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South-West governors ban open grazing, herders begin registration

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Governors of the South-West have banned all forms of open grazing in the region.

This decision was taken on Monday after the governors met with the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and security chiefs.

This came just as the Ondo State Government said it had started registering herdsmen in the state with the aim of ejecting unregistered herders from the state’s forest reserves.

Some of the governors in attendance include Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.

Giving a report of the meeting, Makinde said, “Today, the SW governors held a security stakeholders’ meeting in Ondo State. The meeting was attended by our brother governors from Kebbi and Jigawa states; security chiefs, SW zone led by the AIG Zone 11 and leaders from the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.

“Collectively, we resolved to ban open grazing in all parts of the South-West. In Oyo State, we already have a law against open grazing which will continue to be implemented by our security agencies.

“I restated that we will not permit criminality as a response to criminal actions. Instead we will continue to support our security agencies to do their duties. Also, we will work with our people to face our common enemies – the criminals; kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits.”

In the communiqué read by Fayemi, the stakeholders agreed that night and free-range grazing should be banned henceforth.

In banning underage herding, they described it as inimical to national security.

The stakeholders condemned herders’ occupation of state forest reserves and described it as illegal.

Fayemi said the meeting was conveyed to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the South-West.

He said free-range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders.

“MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about,” the communiqué said.

The communique clarified that the Ondo State governor’s ultimatum was for illegal occupants of the forest reserves, saying the media misrepresented his directive.

“No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality,” it stated directing: “Criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status.”

Saying security agencies have been trying to stem the tide of criminality in the country but must step up their efforts in the fight, the communique recommended strengthening alternative security arrangements to complement the mainstream security agencies.

It also stressed the need to build a partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality.

“Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all,” it added.

Noting that MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence, the communiqué said the association is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.

As a measure to strengthen the relationship among various stakeholders, the communiqué recommended the setting up of a standing committee comprising farmers, MACBAN and the government in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.

It urged states to create economic opportunities for the people and reduce opportunities for criminalities.

Earlier in their opening remarks, the various stakeholders had highlighted happenings in their states for discussion.

Meanwhile, the Ondo State Government said on Monday that it had started registering herdsmen in the state with the aim of ejecting unregistered herders from the state’s forest reserves.

The Special Adviser to state Governor on Security, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, disclosed this in an interview in Akure where the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Governors Forum met.

It was gathered that herdsmen had started leaving the Ondo State’s forest reserves in deference to the state government’s order, which was backed by governors’ forum and the Miyetti Allah at their meeting on Monday.

The NGF and the cattle breeders’ meeting was on a seven-day ultimatum, which the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Monday last week issued herdsmen to vacate the state’s forest reserves.

Dojumo, in the interview with The PUNCH, said his office, in conjunction with the state Ministry of Agriculture and the office of Amotekun Corps, was handling the registration of the herdsmen.

He said, “The registration has commenced already. It has started today. My office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Amotekun office, is handling it.”

Dojumo, who confirmed that the herdsmen were already obeying the governor’s order, said the government would be waiting for more herdsmen to register.

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Lagos govt revives sanitation competition among LG LCDAs

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By Dada Jackson

Lagos State Government has announced the resuscitation of the environmental sanitation competition among all local governments and council areas in the state.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, in a statement, said the competition was being brought back to reawaken the consciousness of every resident with local governments serving as the pivot of the campaign.

Bello explained that since the programme suffered a setback in 2017 through a court stoppage of the monthly environmental sanitation, adding that everyone had let down their guard, thus aggravating various environmental issues.

He stated that part of the benefits derivable was bringing about healthy competition in sanitation and hygiene practices amongst communities, markets and LG/LCDA.

Others are improvement in the environmental conditions of the state especially on highways, roads and streets, markets, schools and discourage illegal street trading.

The commissioner said the competition would take input of actors in the communities including local government chairmen, community leaders,  traditional rulers, transport unions and market leaders.

He informed that an assessment committee which would start work in May had been constituted with membership drawn from the Environment Ministry and Local Government and Community Affairs and other relevant MDAs to inspect all public utilities.

The assessment committee will also inspect the general aesthetics of the scheduled LG/LCDA and the commitment of each to environmental management.

Bello listed some of the criteria for the assessment of each LG/LCDA to include culture of bagging of refuse, clean and flowing drains, LAWMA PSP patronage and vegetal control.

Others are markets cleanliness; landscaping and beautification of LG/LCDA secretariat; control of illegal structures, shanties, black spots, illegal refuse dumps; encroachment on drainage setbacks; street trading, abandoned buildings, land and properties.

The assessment is expected to be rounded off in November with an award ceremony during which mouth-watering prizes will be presented to the winner and first runners-up LG/LCDA, according to the commissioner.

Consolation prizes would be given to the cleanest market, school, environmental sanitation friendly motor park/garage amongst others, he added.

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23 killed in Zamfara traders, vigilante group clash

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A clash between Fulani traders and a vigilante group in Zamfara State has led to the death of about 20 persons.

The killings were said to have occurred at Dansadau in the Maru Local Government Area of the state as a reprisal for the death of three people at Ruwan Tofa and the rustling of cattle.

A report by The PUNCH, quoted a resident of the area, Mohammed Nuhu, as saying some bandits attacked Ruwan Tofa, killed three people, including a member of Yansakai, a proscribed vigilante group, and rustled cattle.

Nuhu said the rustled cattle were then put on sale at Dansadau Market, where the Yansakai members from Ruwan Tofa had coincidentally gone in search of the stolen animals.

He said the vigilantes were enraged when they saw the stolen cattle and killed at least 20 traders in the village.

“Immediately they sighted some cows, they became wild, saying they were the stolen animals and wanted to know who had brought them to the market,” he said.

“They were shown three Fulani people who claimed to be the owners of the animals; they killed them and reclaimed their cows.”

Another indigene of the area identified as Alhaji said all efforts to get security agents to come to their aid were frustrated.

“We have begged the government and security agents to come to our rescue, but up to this moment there are no security personnel in the whole area,” he said.

The Federal Government had banned mining activities in the Zamfara to curb the spate of banditry.

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We will remodel danfo buses, not scrap them – Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Government will not scrap the yellow buses popularly known as ‘danfo’, but remodel them to meet modern standards, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He stated this when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Sunday.

Sanwo-Olu said it would not be fair to scrap the ‘danfo’, adding that they had served Lagos residents for a long time.

He said, “It will be unfair for us. These (their operators) are important stakeholders. They served our citizens. They served Lagosians for a long time. It became the print of Lagos, the yellow buses.

“Let’s be very creative. Let’s see how we can remodel them without scrapping them. We are collaborating with them. You know that our citizens now deserve newer models of cars.”

The governor also said the state had signed an agreement with a local bus manufacturing company to replace buses burnt during the #EndSARS protest.

He said although the buses were insured, the insurance did not cover such “unforeseen circumstances”.

Sanwo-Olu said, “We are trying to replenish them, we have started the compensation and the interesting thing is that we are working with a local bus manufacturing company.

“And it is going to come almost with the same specifications of the ones that were unfortunately destroyed so that Lagosians can have the same feel of the buses. They were insured. Insurance will never cover you 100 per cent.”

Speaking on transportation in the state, Sanwo-Olu said a mega city like Lagos should not make use of one mode of transportation, adding that his administration was working towards exploring other options.

He said, “One-third of Lagos is water. That is natural. It will be unfair on us not to utilise that opportunity. Lagos in terms of area is also even below the sea level.

“About 33 per cent of our landmass is water. We need to create that infrastructure. The infrastructure for water is terminal.”

The governor also spoke on the construction of light rail in the state, saying the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the federal level did not back the project when it was initiated.

The governor said his administration was determined to construct the red and blue light rail lines across the state.

He said, “Lagos was not with the Federal Government at that time so the PDP government never gave Lagos the right of way from the red line now which is from Oyingbo, Ebute Meta all the way to Agbado, which was where we all grew up, that rail corridor.

 “When I was in the BRF’s government, we never actually started the red line then. It was the blue line that we started in 2010. If we step back then, you remember we have always had that rail corridor.

“So the Federal Government never gave us that opportunity to be able to do the red line then. So it is just now that we are doing the red line.”

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