Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has described as draconian the anti-grazing law by some southern governors. He spoke just as the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed fears that if Ayade failed to sign the law, he would be inviting anarchy to the state.
At a press conference late last week, Ayade had queried the law, saying: “How would you as a nation declare illegitimate a legitimate trade of the people, the nomadic herdsmen. Even though Southern governors have made it very clear that all southern governors must pass the anti-open grazing law, Cross River has not, I have not because I cannot ask my herdsmen brothers whether of Northern or Southern extraction to shut down their trade and stay confined to a place whether they have the pasture or not.”
He said the state was rather coming up with ‘Open grazing Management Law,’ because according to him, it is morally and ethically unacceptable to prohibit a trade that existed before “I was born.”
“I would rather find a way to moderate and regulate it so that it meets the definition of animal husbandry. If we pass such a draconian law and on the other side they pass their own draconian law and we pass another; gradually we are getting into war. But I am a conformist, I belong to the Southern Governors’ Forum, so they say pass the law, I will pass the law but by the time my law is out, you will see that the law comes with concern for both parties.”
BUT the PDP, in statement, dated December 4, 2021 and signed by its state Publicity Secretary, Prince Mike Ojisi, said the governor’s stance against the anti-grazing law is “a canonisation of incompetence.”
It added: “To say the statement from Governor Ben Ayade is utterly insensitive, inciting, nauseating, and sickeningly unbecoming would be an understatement. The Peoples Democratic Party Cross River State condemns in strong terms such reprehensible statement from the governor, who ordinarily should always stand and protect the interest of his people first, before trying to sound politically correct- just to massage the ego of the hegemonic Fulani herdsmen.”