Army, Gombe gov differ on open grazing in southern Nigeria

The Nigerian Army, yesterday, turned down the request by Governor Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe State to discourage southern governors’ call for the ban of open grazing.

In his remarks at the five-day 3 Division Operations Planning Cadre at the Gombe International Hotels, the governor condemned the position of his southern counterparts on the controversial issue of open grazing.

According to him, the governors should rather think of providing settlement or colonies for the cattle-rearers, instead of total ban on their mode of operation.

Every Nigerian has a fundamental right to do business without intimidation or threat, he reasoned, arguing that if the governors and those who share same sentiment could approve spaces for other business interests, “cattle-rearers too deserve same sentiment.”

He said: “If you say no to open grazing, you should then provide colonies for them. You provide spaces for other business interests, but cattle-rearers. You must provide necessary and conducive environment for these people; they are Nigerians too,” he stressed.

Yahaya urged the organisers and participants to include the burning issue that polarised the country in their training.

However, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division, who is also the Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, told newsmen: “Cattle-rearing is a national issue. I cannot comment for now. My concern is to get my men and officers trained on what will improve their professional status and further develop the country.”

According to him, the participants are to be trained on ‘The Art of Planning Operations’.

The GOC disclosed that 50 security personnel across all agencies, including the army, police and the Department of State Services (DSS) would benefit from the five-day training.

The forum would afford all participants, mainly the junior and middle officers, opportunity of sharing ideas and experiences that would enhance their performance.

He added: “After the training, many of them will be deployed and use their experience here to advance better professional conduct and display.”

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