From Ahmad Ibrahim Lokoja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said that he would never enact anti-grazing law in the state, saying such development would be counter productive to his administration’s efforts to boost the socio-economic well being of the people of the state.
The governor disclosed this at the Government House, Lokoja yesterday while presiding over a meeting between traditional rulers, Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state, with a view to fostering peace and understanding, as well as harmonious co-existence among the people of the state.
He pointed out that there was the need for the people of the state to strictly adhere to the provisions of the constitution as regards freedom of movement and association, saying preventing Fulani herdsmen from entering the state was against the rule of law.
While describing Fulani herdsmen as stakeholders in the Nigerian project, the governor stressed the need for the people of the state to learn to live in peace with one another, and strangers in their midst.
He further expressed the commitment of his administration to flush out criminal elements endangering the lives of the people, saying those attacking Fulani herdsmen as well as the herdsmen destroying farmlands and killing farmers in the process would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
He disclosed that his administration would not hesitate to dethrone any traditional ruler who encourage Farmers- herdsmen clash in his domain, even as the chief executive of such local government would be sent packing for failing in his responsibilities.
Governor Bello maintained that his administration whole heartedly welcome Fulani herdsmen to the state, in as much as they are prepared to relate peacefully with their host communities, as well as contribute meaningfully towards the development of the state.
He directed traditional rulers and local government administrators to involve the Fulani herdsmen in the day to day running of government at the grassroots level, even as he revealed that his admnistration would ensure they (the herdsmen) are represented at the state executive council.
The governor said his government would take censors of all Fulani herdsmen in the state with a view to forestalling further clash between them and their host communities, as well track down criminal elements among the herdsmen.
He commended the security agencies in the state for being alive to their responsibilities, urging them not to relent in their efforts in making the state unsafe for criminal elements.