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Home / News / Herdsmen crisis: Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, four others move to enact anti-open grazing law

Herdsmen crisis: Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, four others move to enact anti-open grazing law

After the passage of anti-open grazing laws in Ekiti and Benue states, other states like Ebonyi, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Ogun are moving to introduce similar laws to curb clashes between herdsmen and farmers within their respective boundaries.
Findings by Saturday PUNCH from the states showed that moves to introduce anti-open grazing laws were at various stages, with the bill having already passed second reading in Ogun State.
A 2015 Global Terrorism Index pushed Fulani militants to the fourth position on the list of deadliest militant groups in the world with a record killing of 1,229 people in 2014 alone. Similarly, a 2017 research by SBM Intelligence said the death toll from pastoral conflicts had been rising from 2015 and stood at nearly 5,000, “rivalling the killings by Boko Haram insurgents per year.”
The Ekiti State House of Assembly had in August 2016 passed a bill criminalising open grazing to law. The anti-open grazing law recently passed by the Benue State government took effect on November 1, 2017, leading to the mass movement of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle out of the state.
Similarly, the Ogun State House of Assembly currently has a bill before it on animal rearing and grazing, which has passed second reading.
“The bill will soon get to the committee stage,” the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Oludare Kadiri, disclosed this to one of our correspondents on Friday.
He said, “There is a bill before the house, which has passed the second reading. It is on animal rearing and grazing. When we resume from the oversight function tour, the bill will move to the committee stage.
“When it is finally ready, it will spell out the modalities for animal rearing and grazing. It will spell out where to go and where not to go. So, let us wait till the bill is finally passed into law.”
In Imo State, a similar bill is before the state House of Assembly. The Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Marcel Ekwezuo, however, said he was not sure of the status of the bill.
He said, “I will check our records to find out its status at the legislature.”
On whether the state needed anti-open grazing law, Ekwezuo said “yes”.
“It was because the law is pertinent that the entire legislators of the South-South and South-East gathered at the hallowed chamber of the state House of Assembly to deliberate on it. Since that convergence, there has not been any clash between herdsmen and farmers in Imo State,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Government said it was already proposing a similar bill that would address the attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen on local farmers.
The Oke Ogun area of the state is home to some Fulani herdsmen who have frequently been accused of attacking farmers, raping their wives and daughters and destroying farmlands through grazing.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said that although the state government had established some committees to resolve disputes between farmers and herdsmen, an executive bill would soon be sent to the state House of Assembly to check the activities of the latter.
Arulogun said, “The issue of herdsmen attacks on farmers and communities is a national issue. We have pockets of such problem in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State.
“I can confirm to you that there is an executive bill that will soon be transmitted to the state House of Assembly. This will address the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.”
Likewise, the Ondo State Government said it had begun the process of making anti-open grazing law to reduce the incessant attacks of suspected herdsmen on the farmers in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, said the governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, would be sending a bill on anti-open grazing to the House of Assembly to pass into law.
He said, “We already have an anti-open grazing bill going to the House, and we will be awaiting the passage of the bill. The content of the bill is about how to prevent open grazing.”
In the same vein, the Assembly said it was in support of such a law, saying any time the bill reached the Assembly, it would be passed.
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Olamide George, said there was widespread agitation for a solution to herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in the state.
“Currently, the House has not had any bill on that subject matter but we know there are agitations everywhere and the agitation is increasing. By the
grace of God, when a matter is of urgent public importance, the Assembly will definitely support the bill.
“We can’t continue to fold our arms and allow our farm produce to be wasted; people can’t be working day and night to make ends meet and ordinary animals would go and destroy their farms. We won’t accept that again in Ondo State. We will definitely give our support to the bill.”
In Ebonyi State, Emmanuel Uzor, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor David Umahi, also said that the state government was contemplating presenting an anti-open grazing bill to the House of Assembly for passage into law, especially as neighbouring Benue State had done so.
He said, “We are contemplating sending anti-open grazing bill to the House of Assembly. The close proximity of Ebonyi and Benue states is such that it is possible that when the herdsmen move away from there because of its new law, they will move their cattle into Ebonyi. To protect our people, we are contemplating having a similar law in the state.
“The process is almost completed; if the law was able to stem the frequent clashes in Ekiti and Benue, it would stop it anywhere and end all these frequent clashes.”
The Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Cosmos Ndukwe, said the state lawmakers were currently working on a bill that would ban open grazing to protect farmers and farmlands.
He said, “The state has called for a lot of meetings between farmers, herdsmen, community leaders and the police. In such meetings, we have discussed issues that seek to create synergy between herdsmen and farmers.
“But the irony is that the cattle owners always insist that the attacks in some communities are not to their knowledge. They claim that some of the owners of the cattle are not known by them. The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria will always tell us that some of the herdsmen were hired by independent cattle owners to work for them.
“But in the House of Assembly, we are trying to enact a law on grazing that will see to it that cattle are no longer seen on our streets, so when the herdsmen come into the state, they will stay in a particular area mapped out for them.”
There are strong indications that the Cross River State House of Assembly is also considering passing the anti-open grazing law.
A member representing Obudu constituency in the House of Assembly, Mr. Steve Ukpukpen, said the effect of the law passed by Benue was already taking its toll on Cross River State.
He said, “We are considering passing that anti-open grazing law too and it will happen within the shortest possible time because the casualties are despicable. The law will help stem the clash. It has made an impact in Benue State and the herdsmen are beginning to look for where to take refuge. A law like this will chase them out of Cross River State.”
The state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has also lamented that his state was already feeling the spillover effect of the law recently passed by the Benue State Government.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Mr. Francis Ottah-Agbo, said the state government had been able to confine activities of herdsmen to a grazing area earmarked for them in the state, and that the move had worked so far.
Meanwhile, Osun, Katsina, Bauchi, and Kwara State governments said they were not considering introducing anti-open grazing law.
When contacted, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Niger State House of Assembly, Shusibu Iya, said he could not discuss the matter on the telephone.
But the state’s Director-General, Nomadic Affairs, Abdullahi Babayo, said the government had established a peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen.
Story by: Olufemi Atoyebi, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Success Nwogu, Simon Utebor, Mudiaga Affe, Peter Dada, Clement Nnachi, Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Gibson Achonu, Enyioha Opara, Armstrong Bakam and Olaide Oyelude
Copyright PUNCH.
AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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56 comments

  1. Kush Bishop

    They shud do that fast…becos cattle rearing is a personal business and not government business…

  2. Oforkansi Virginus

    only igbo idiots are afraid of buhari terrorist

  3. Orshio Moses

    That is only super solution to this Fulani killers

  4. Anyanwu Emmanuel

    Majority of the herdsmen are foreigners.We heard the President himself tell us this. Since he failed to protect Nigerians then State Govts should protect their citiizens Fulani Buhari failed to protect the entire nation and must be VOTED OUT !!!!!!!

  5. Majid Abd

    Governor Fayose of Ekiti state seem to be the most foresighted in this regard. Kudos to Fayose.

  6. Thaddaeus Akwaeke-francis

    Goodmorning my fellow nigerians. It is better to be late than the late!

  7. Getrude Umemba

    Make una wait until this evil migrants kill you all

  8. Bashir Muhammed

    I concord. Do it so that the madness of these cow men should be over. Be courageous.

  9. Onwu Gbusia Ndi Ugwu

    They are borrowing a leaf from governor fayose.

  10. John Ogbajie

    Good move but long over due.

  11. Rubben Lukeman Aro

    We give God the glory. Taraba have started this revolution and we are glad that our Yoruba guys have started to rónu

  12. Alumona Ernest

    Good let the old eastern state governors keep joining hand with order sabo to kill their children and use the ward terrorist to cover up. Yet Fulani herdsmen from other country are killing, destroying our farms, rapping our old mother’s, wife’s but they can not stand up to stop it. While can’t ranches work in Nigeria, why can’t why can’t baba London and his change group change from herdsmen man to ranches baba? This is 21 centuryooooo not 1914

  13. Nasiru Bashir

    this is against the Constitutional provision give to all Nigeria

  14. Oyedemi Samuel

    That is right, farmers in the south west have been treaten by the headsmen on their farms , the best thing is to restrict them otherwise poverty and hunger will take over

  15. Okechukwu Job

    anti grazing has been in existence for yrs in y community . The law said no goat should be allowed to move and destroy farms and if found kill or report then the owner of the goat will pay for each crop destroyed by the animal and it has been so managed peacefully

  16. Emeka Obiayo Eze

    Kudos to d incoming Nigerian President Odogwu Ayo Fayose. Who first enacted d law in ekiti state.

  17. Ifeanyi Samuel

    southeast leaders wakeup before is later

  18. Henry Njoku

    Leave the south east and south south governors to cry to the president. 😢 😢 😢 😢

  19. Isaiah Ekejiuba

    Our State Governors and Legislative Houses ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT. Gov. Fayoee took prompt and appropriate action A LONG TIME AGO. I still appreciate him.

  20. Uzo Oluigbo

    ….a very welcome development! Long overdue….

  21. Jimmy Jones

    All hands must b put together to push these islamic blood sucking vampires from funta jalon mountain back to where they came from

  22. Ugo Awa

    My question is what are our South Eastern governors waiting for before ding the same thing?

  23. Maximilian Buchi

    What is Enugu waiting for after the massacre of her people? The state should quickly enact the law.

  24. Daniel Godman Kolade

    Fayose is the only brave gov 4rm SW.

  25. Kundu Raph

    Benue state and ekiti has done for the interest of their people,

  26. Chika David Okonkwo

    Stupidity is when you technically outlaw your tribe by equipping them with assault riffles to freely massacre other tribes, take over their ancestry thinking that you will be feared in Nigeria

  27. Aziegbe Sylvester

    While Edo state government is sleeping. Is like the governor forget that protecting live n properties is his first primary responsible

  28. Meshack Nwigwe

    they should do that immediately and not move.

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