Northern youth leaders back calls for ban on open grazing

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A frontline coalition of Arewa groups, Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has backed the position of the Southern Governors’ Forum, banning open grazing in their states.

National Chairman of the forum, Comrade Elliot Afiyo, stated this at a press conference in Yola, Adamawa state capital, on May 22, 2021 after the 27th annual delegates conference.

The group however, lamented the negative impact of open grazing in the country.

“We have taken time to study extensively the communique issued by the Southern Governors especially on the ban on open grazing and national dialogue.

“We want to state clearly that open grazing has been the greatest threat to the environment of the Northern region and also a major threat to security of lives and property in the entire country,” the group said.

They explained that national dialogue is also a necessity, considering the clamour and demands for restructuring and secessions.

“But we are totally opposed to the use of 2014 Constitutional Conference Report because to us generally in the North, the Report lacks credibility due to the fact that the Delegates especially from the northern part of the country, were hand-picked based on agreements of loyalty.

“To this end, the NYLF during our special delegates conference resolved to totally support the call for national dialogue and ban on open grazing,” it said.

They called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency and national interest, consider these calls as duty calls to obey and immediately too.

“In order to enforce completely the ban on open grazing, we call for the establishment of Herder’s Commission or Agency to cater for the needs of the herders through selective programmes so as to effectively Kick-Start the ranching system.

“We also condemn the statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation on the ban on open grazing and also appeal to the President to caution his Ministers and Aides who despite being in government for either four to six years, are still having the opposition mentality,” they added.

Historically, the NYLF was formed and registered on July 12,1994, by the traditional, religious and military elites of the northern extraction to guide, protect, support and encourage the northern interest within the national interest both politically and otherwise.

It is a forum that started with 16 youth organisations and a total membership of 121,000 in 1994.

Because of the commitment of the forum to ensure justice and fairness to all sections of the country, many youth organisations decided to register with NYLF.

The group said, “As at today the 22nd of May 2021, we have a total of forty-two (42) youth organisations and over four million registered and active members.

“Since the inception of the forum, Annual Delegates Conferences are being held every year to take stock, identify challenges, proffer solutions and take critical decisions especially on the political direction of the north in this present democratic dispensation and we have been faithful in this course since 1999 except in 2019.”

Afiyo explained that the conference was expected to announce its Presidential choice for 2023, but has shelved that for a later date, following the tragic plane clash that killed the Chief of Army Staff alongside other top officers on Friday.

“This Delegates Conference supposed to be one of the special delegates conference as it was designed or purposed to endorse and announce our own choice candidate for the 2023 presidential election but for some circumstances beyond our control.

“The death of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru who happened to be a brother to our first National Chairman, which also claimed the lives of two of our members, Major Hamza and Major Hayat coupled with the security report at our disposal on the plans by two other presidential hopefuls to cause crisis if peradventure we eventually endorse and announce our own candidate for 2023 presidential elections, we decided for the sake of peace and in honor of our departed elders and colleagues to shift the endorsement to the 5th of June, 2021, at Abuja,” the group said.

They further announced that notwithstanding, their decision to endorse either Gov. Bala Mohammed or High Chief Raymond Dokpesi still stands in spite of intimdations and threats.

“We have convincing reasons to back-up our decision and it is our stand point,” they pointed out.

On the Ill fated plane crash of Friday, they said they received it with shock.

“We received with disbelief and astonishment the news of a plane crash which claimed the lives of officers of the Nigerian Army and Airforce including that of the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

“We sincerely and honestly frowned at the manner and rate of these plane crashes,” the group lamented.

They therefore, called for the immediate composition of an independent investigative panel to ascertain the remote causes of this plane crash and that the report must be made public.

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