Abiodun, Okowa sign anti-open grazing laws

Dapo Abiodun signs the anti-open grazing law in Abeokuta

Dapo Abiodun signs the anti-open grazing law in Abeokuta

Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta today signed the anti-open grazing bills passed by theirs houses of assembly into laws.

While Abiodun signed the law to regulate animal grazing and establishment of Cattle Ranching, Okowa styled his own Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulations Law.

Okowa signed with an appeal to the Federal Government to assist interested herdsmen to establish ranches across the country.

Okowa shows the anti-open grazing law
Okowa shows the anti-open grazing law

“We believe as the Southern Governors had stated that we must start to look into other ways of ensuring that we are able to breed and that we are able to rare our cattle and other livestock in such a manner that is acceptable in modern times.

“We believe that this is something workable, many times it is difficult for people to embrace change, but I believe that the world all over is changing by the day and if you find that change is going to bring peace if you find that change is going to bring development and even economic enhancement, it should truly be embraced.

“I think that it is time for our nation to depart from the old ways and to look into the future, ensuring that we do things in the best way for development.

“We must encourage best actions to be taken towards ensuring that there is peaceful coexistence within the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the various states and also ensuring that we are able to do our businesses in such a manner that is respectable and I think that is what this law stands for”.

The Governor explained that the law was not enacted to witch-hunt anybody but to encourage people to live with each other, respecting each others views, noting that the Delta State House of Assembly had done the state proud.

Abiodun, who assented to the Bill at a Security Council meeting in Abeokuta, called on the security agencies to swing immediately into action and enforce provisions of the law.

“This is a subject matter that has been discussed along the length and breadth of the country and which we Southern governors have discussed and endorsed.

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“Ogun has enjoyed peace in spite of the presence of various ethnic nationalities, until the recent farmers’ herders skirmishes.

“Cattle rearers have a six-month period of grace before it becomes illegal in Ogun for cattle rearers to occupy unapproved public areas and private land with their livestock for grazing.”

The governor said the law would also prohibit the act of moving cattle around the public places by herders.

He explained that a committee, headed by Dr Adeola Odedina, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, had been set up to midwife the implementation and enforcement of the new law.

Abiodun recalled that there were pockets of crisis in some parts of the state, particularly, the Yewa axis in April over issues on open grazing.

He said that the crisis, which pitched the Hausa-Fulani settlers against their Yoruba host communities, necessitated the setting up of a peace committee headed by a former lawmaker, Kayode Oladele.

Abiodun expressed optimism that the Anti-grazing Law would prevent future reoccurrence of the situation.

“By implication, in six months, it will become unlawful to openly graze cattle or other livestock in this state,” he said.

The state House of Assembly passed the bill on 8 July.

The Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, subsequently transmitted a clean copy of the Bill to the governor for assent