- Governors from the southern part of the country have insisted that nothing will stop the ban on open grazing in the state
- This is evidenced by their action in promptly signing the bill as passed by their respective state assemblies
- Governors who are yet to sign the bill have also promised to eventually do the needful in other to protect their people
Despite set backs in its implementation, the governors of the 17 states in Southern Nigeria have declared their resolve to proceed with the ban on open grazing of cattle in their states.
This was disclosed by some of the governors and their aides in different interviews, Leadership Newspaper reports.
Speaking after he signed the bill to law in his office in Akure, the state capital, Akeredolu said:
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“The move is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum at its last meeting in Lagos where September 1st was set as the deadline for Governors in Southern Nigeria to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law."
On his part, Ifeanyi Okowa, the chairman of south-south governors’ forum and Delta state governor said the constitution grants governors the power over land in their respective states.
“We are in a country of law and the law has granted governors to have control of land in their states. The governor is the one who gives Certificate of Occupancy to every individual who wants to possess land and have full ownership."
Also, Rivers state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, while signing the bill into law recently at government house, Port Harcourt, said:
“Cattle rearing is agricultural business and the law, which has specified ranching, is so intended in order to stem clashes between herdsmen who go to destroy farmland, crops, and having problems with farmers that lead to fighting and killing of themselves.
“It is no longer a story. All of us know what our people have suffered in terms of this open grazing. Today all Nigerians have come to accept the reality that open grazing is no longer fashionable. Even our brothers in the north have agreed that it is no longer fashionable.”
In Ogun, the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun yesterday through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Kunle Somorin, said:
“The anti- grazing bill has been passed by the Ogun state House of Assembly with the establishment of cattle ranches in some designated grazing areas in the state. A section of the bill prescribed a three-year jail term without an option of fine including the forfeiture of the herds of cattle or livestock under his/her control to the state government except within the permitted ranches."
On its part, the Oyo state government has threatened to ensure a ban on open grazing.
In Ekiti, the state government maintained that anti-grazing law has been in existence in the state since 2016.
The coordinator of the Ekiti State Grazing Management Programme, Major Tajudeen Awe (rtd) said:
“For Ekiti, the law was enacted a few years ago and enforcement has been ongoing since then. There are two bills, the first was in 2016 and the second was 2018”.
Also, the Akwa Ibom state government has said it was ready for the ban on open grazing.
Speaking with our correspondent in Uyo yesterday, the Akwa Ibom state commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, said:
“What I am saying is that the state government is implementing the decisions of the southern governors on open grazing."
September 1: Southern states betray open grazing ban, many fail to pass law
Recall that Legit.ng had reported that as the September 1 deadline on ban on open grazing in Southern Nigeria agreed on by the 17 southern states finally dawns, no fewer than 12 states have failed to comply.
Investigations reveal that some of the states are not serious about enacting it while some have rejected it, insisting that there is a good relationship between herders and farmers in the state.
Some state governors are, however, slow about it even after the bill has been passed by their state assemblies.
Ogun state House of Assembly already on track
In a related development, the Ogun State House of Assembly passed the Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Bill, 2020, recommending three years jail terms for offenders without any option.
Violators of the law will also forfeit their herds of cattle or livestock to the state government.
The Assembly said it passed the bill to address incessant clashes between herders and farmers in the state, noting that it had led to the loss of lives and property.