Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma has opted out of the anti open grazing resolution of Southern governors after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, opting instead for collaboration between “farmers and herders” in the state.
Recall that the governors of 17 Southern states had after their meeting in Lagos on July 5, set September 1, 2021 target for states in the region to enact anti-open grazing legislation as a way of checking incessant killing and kidnapping by suspected herdsmen in the region.
Following the governors’ resolution, Delta, Osun, Ondo, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Enugu state governments had moved to enact anti-open grazing laws. But before the resolution of the governors, the anti-open grazing law was already operational in Ogun, Abia, Oyo, Ekiti, and Ebonyi states.
However, Uzodinma yesterday declared that there is no law forbidding open grazing by cattle rearers in the state.
Speaking after meeting with Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Uzodinma argued that though there is presently no anti-grazing law in the state, his government was trying to regulate grazing activities through collaboration between the farmers and herders.
“I don’t have any law in Imo State for anti-grazing. But what we have done is that we are regulating grazing activities in Imo State under a partnership between our farmers and herders. They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in my office and agreed to work together. And both parties are going about their businesses without interfering or causing any grievance or anger to each other,” Uzodinma said.
The governor also argued that the recent sit-at-home order given by the Independent People Of Biafra (IPOB) was not carried out in the state, saying people went about their normal businesses.
He further disclosed that the Igbo people are now ready to play national politics by belonging to the party at the centre, saying this would play out with the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
“To the extent of what I know on the sit-at-home order, even the people on their own called off the sit-at-home order. In Imo State, it is not being observed. People are doing their businesses,” he said.
“Most people in Imo are businessmen and women who depend on their daily activities and income to feed their families. So, they cannot afford to sit at home idle and allow hunger to ravage the state.
“I know in Imo State, there is only one Governor and only the governor can order, working with other members of the government, that people should sit at home and it will be obeyed. I don’t want to sit here and recognise that there is any order outside the government of Imo State because there is a government.
“IPOB is not a government in Imo State. Imo State government has not authorised anything at all. Workers are going to work and normal business activities are ongoing. And for now, I told you that Imo State is relatively calm.”