Abiodun OBA

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has faulted the President’s recent directive to revive cattle grazing routes across the country saying there were no such routes in the state.

Diri spoke on Saturday at Government House, Yenagoa, during a media chat broadcast live on all Yenagoa-based radio stations as part of activities to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

His words: “For us, there are no cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa State. Our people are traditionally and occupationally fishermen. The idea of cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa is very strange to us in this part of the country.”

Diri explained that although he was not countering the Federal Government’s decision to resuscitate grazing routes, his administration had put in place a legal framework to ban open grazing and movement of cattle on foot.

The Bayelsa Governor also emphasised that the Southern governors had adopted the same position on the issue as part of measures to check farmers and herders clashes across the country.

Diri maintained that his government could not afford to expose its citizenry to the looming danger.

Senator Diri, who pointed out that in a Federal system of government, states have rights to enact laws to regulate the activities of its people, stressed that the prohibition on open grazing of cattle would be fully implemented in the state.

He said: “There may be cattle grazing routes in the North; but what is applicable in the North may not be applicable to us in the South. I don’t want to believe we are running a unitary system of government.”

The Governor, in a Press Release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said democracy was about the people and that Nigeria had come a long way with 22 years of uninterrupted civilian rule, which he observed had not been smooth but worth celebrating.

He noted that the urban renewal programme among other projects and policies of his administration were part of the drive to give the state a new look and make it more attractive to investors.

On the state-owned international airport, Diri announced that commercial flights would commence next month in partnership with the United Nigeria Airline to operate daytime flights, pending when the runway lights for night flights would be installed.

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