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Press zooms in on ban of open grazing in Nigeria’s Southern states, others

The report of the ban of open grazing in Southern states of Nigeria by the Forum of Southern Governors dominate…

The report of the ban of open grazing in Southern states of Nigeria by the Forum of Southern Governors dominate the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that after individual attempts to address the menace of open grazing in Southern states, the Forum of Southern Governors in one voice, yesterday, announced a ban on open grazing in all the 17 Southern states. They recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency and importance, address Nigerians on the frightening state of insecurity across the nation and convoke a national dialogue.

The governors, who were united by their resolve to make Nigeria work, did not betray partisan sentiments, but agreed among other issues that the President address Nigerians to restore the people’s confidence.

In a resolution after the meeting, the forum explained rationale for the ban on open grazing, stressing that, “development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South, including cattle movement to the South by foot.”

The Guardian learnt that the governors collectively identified the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country as being at the root of the “severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives in the region.

The newspaper says that the prevailing insecurity in the country and other macroeconomic challenges have continued to hamper investment in the stock market, with foreign investors pulling out N1.64 trillion from the market in three years.

In 2018, N642.65 billion in foreign portfolio investment outflow was recorded, while foreign investors withdrew N523.42 billion and N481.93 billion during the corresponding period in 2019 and 2020.

Latest data from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) show that foreign investors withdrew N30.79 billion in January, N39.05 billion in February and N20.28 billion in March 2021, while domestic investors pulled out N86.35 billion in January, N69.28 billion in February and N93.31 billion during the same period.

Foreign inflow within the same period in 2018, 2019 and 2020 stood at N576.45 billion, N419.13 billion and N247.27 billion, totalling N1.24 trillion.

This huge outflow of capital has led to concerns about impact on the economy, as operators predict the precarious state of the stock market could worsen if factors impeding the nation’s economic growth were not tackled soon.

Operators said that given the increasing level of insecurity, kidnapping, recurrent farmers-herders clashes, unemployment, weak naira and GDP growth, rising inflation and dwindling revenue, government has to evolve new strategies to stop investment outflows.

The Punch reports that COVID-19 strain, which is currently ravaging India, has been found in Nigeria, The PUNCH has learnt.

The strain was detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State nearly three weeks ago and has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Recall that the Federal Government on Monday restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned nightclubs following reports that the devastating COVID-19 strain in South Africa had spread to 23 other countries.

The PUNCH was informed on Tuesday that the detection of the Indian strain in Nigeria contributed to the fresh regulations issued by the Federal Government.

The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provided open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC read in part, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”

The newspaper also reports that Southern Senators’ Forum has commended steps taken by state governors from the region to stem the rise in insecurity.

The forum disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Secretary-General and Publicity Secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti), Matthew Uroghide (PDP-Edo) and Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu).

The forum lauded the governors for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning the open grazing of cattle.

The senators said that such a unanimous policy would check those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash the terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.

The newspaper quoted a report by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying that the governors at a meeting in Asaba, on Tuesday, unanimously passed a verdict prohibiting open grazing in the region among other positions.

The senators said the step would help secure the region and return it to the path of peace.

The senators lamented how farmers in the region were losing millions of Naira to the plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands thereby exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity.

ThisDay says that a rights group, International Society for Civil Rights and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has alleged that a total of 1,460 Christians have been killed in Nigeria between January and April.

The group also said statistics gathered from its investigation showed that 2,200 persons have also been abducted within the same period.

The allegations were made a statement signed by the principal officers of the group, including its chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), which was made available to THISDAY in Awka, Anambra State.

The group in the statement said: “Nigeria has devastatingly remained the ‘country most Christians are killed’ and ‘most dangerous place to be a Christian’ as well as Africa’s newest hotbed of Islamic Jihad and religious intolerance.

“Statistically shocking is the fact that the country had in the past four months- from January to April 2021-lost no fewer than 1,470 Christians. Also, out of estimated 3,200 defenceless Nigerians abducted by jihadists during the period, Nigerian Christians accounted for no fewer than 2,200.

“The 1,470 Christian deaths in four months is the highest number recorded since 2014, and it specifically surpassed the total number of Christians killed in 2019, estimated by the Open Doors to be 1,350.”

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