Lagos, One of the states in the region that failed to meet the September 1 deadline for enacting the anti-open grazing law is the permanent secretariat of the Southern Governors’ Forum.
The deadline was set during a meeting of the region’s 17 governors in Lagos in July, as a follow-up to an earlier meeting in Asaba, Delta State, where the governors announced a total ban on open grazing.
The anti-open grazing bill is still in the State House of Assembly, where it passed the first reading.
The State Executive Council has passed the anti-open grazing bill and presented it to the House of Assembly, according to Gbenga Omotoso, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy.
Meanwhile, the Ejes Gist News has learned that Imo State has opted out of the region’s governors’ resolutions.
The governor of the state, Hope Uzodimma, disclosed that the state has opted for a “partnership between farmers and herders.”
Uzodimma told State House correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday that there was no law prohibiting cattle rearers from grazing openly in Imo state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has yet to sign the Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Bill 2020, which was passed by the state’s House of Assembly last month.
The bill passed on July 8 puts offenders at the risk of a three-year jail term.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin, confirmed that the bill had not been signed into law.
When asked if the governor was ready to assent the bill, he said, “The governor will assent a bill based on the advice from the Ministry of Justice and the major stakeholders.”
In Edo State, the anti-grazing law has not been enacted by the state’s assembly.
Despite the Southern governors’ September 1 deadline, our reporter learned that Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, had yet to send a bill to the assembly for consideration.
Communities and civil society organisations have staged several protests, urging the state government to pass a law regulating grazing in the state.
The government of Anambra State, on the other hand, stated that it had no plans to enact anti-open grazing legislation due to the state’s friendly relationship with herders.
“We have a committee that interfaces with the herders and farmers in the state over the years and it is working effectively,” the state’s Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, said. Because there is no problem in the state, such laws are unnecessary.”
In addition, Adegboyega Oyetola, the governor of Osun State, has refused to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill, which was passed by the legislature.
After its third reading, the assembly passed the Osun Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranches Establishment Bill 2021, but the governor has not signed it.
Akeredolu, Fayemi, Wike, Makinde, Diri sign bill into law
On the other hand, Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), signed the Anti-Grazing Bill into law on Tuesday.
“It is very pertinent to aver and indeed, reiterate that the Law shall rather, engender a more cordial, mutually beneficial relationship amongst residents of the state irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or creed,” said Donald Ojogo, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation. “To be clear, no specific group of people is the target,” he stated.
The Open Rearing and Grazing Prohibition Law, No.5 of 2021, was also passed by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who stated, “It is inimical to development and peace for any state to condone open grazing of cattle.”
Governor Douye Diri, who has already signed the anti-open grazing bill into law in Bayelsa, has set up an implementation committee to carry out the law.
The committee will be chaired by the Commissioner of Agriculture, David Alagoa, and will include members of the Cattle Rearers Association.
Cattle rearers in the state have relocated to the government-approved grazing area at Bayelsa Palm Road in Yenagoa.
Major Tajudeen Awe (Retd.) of Ekiti State, who is in charge of the state’s Agro Rangers, said the anti-grazing law was first implemented in 2016 and then amended in 2018.
According to Daily Trust, Oyo State is putting in place machinery to implement the governor’s anti-open grazing bill, which was signed into law in October 2019.
Taiwo Adisa, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, told Daily Trust that the state would implement the law as soon as the necessary infrastructure was in place.
Alhaji Yakubu Bello, a former chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association in Oyo State, said the association and the state government had scheduled a meeting for Saturday, with the outcome determining their position.
The anti-open grazing law was passed in Ebonyi in 2018, but its implementation is uncertain.
The law outlawed underage herders, cow grazing, and cow movement at night.
Miyetti Allah, Fulani group request for more time in Enugu
The Enugu State House of Assembly has been asked to give the Miyetti Allah Hor and Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) more time to submit their submissions to the anti-grazing bill before the assembly.
During the public hearing on the Law to Prohibit Open Grazing and Regulate Cattle Ranching, the Head of Miyetti Allah in the South East, Alhaji Gidado Idris Siddiki, and Zonal Chairman, Musa Abdulahi, respectively, asked the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Ethics and Privileges to give them one month to deliberate on the bill and make their submission.
Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, PANDEF back implementation of the anti-open grazing law
The Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, Tuesday backed the southern governors on the passage of the anti-open grazing bill.
“We commend the steps taken by governours of the South West on the establishment of security networks like Amotekun. We urge them to continue to forge ahead,” Afenifere said in a communiqué signed by the Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, at the end of a meeting of the group held at the house of the acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
Participants who attended the meeting from all the states in the South West, as well as Kwara and Kogi, states also faulted the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to revive the grazing routes.
The National Publicity Secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ken Robinson, said that no governor in the region should refuse to enact the anti-open grazing law.
He said, “With the expiration of that deadline, PANDEF implores all the southern governors to honour their collective decision, despite the apparent acts of intimidation and coercion by the central government, particularly, with the 2023 general elections in view.
“The fact remains that open grazing of cattle is an archaic practise that has no place in today’s society, irrespective of the arbitrary actions of President Buhari, like the reported order on recovery of Grazing Reserves in 25 states.
“It would be unfortunate if any of the southern governors fail to enact the Anti-Open Grazing Law. PANDEF commends the governors that have enacted the Law and call on states yet to enact the law, to do so without delay, in the best interest of their people,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, said the group would have to investigate the states in the East that had passed the bill and those that were yet to pass it.
According to him, until the group finds out what is happening across the Eastern states, he would not comment on the development.
But in its reaction, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) described the ban as politically motivated.
The National Publicity Secretary of the association, Malam Adamu Toro, said there was not much they could do since the decision was politically motivated.
He said they had called on governors in the northern states to see the ban as a challenge to their people and rise to it by reorganising their respective livestock sectors.
“We are watching the implementation to see how it goes. Where necessary we will assist our members who face any challenge,’’ he said.
Credit: Daily Trust, Ejes Gist News