CONTROVERSY OVER ANTI-OPEN GRAZING Law, AS ANAMBRA, IMO REJECT IT
The Governors of Imo and Anambra States have rejected the anti-open grazing law agreed by Southern Governors Forum at their July 5, meeting in Lagos.
Governors Willie Obiano (APGA), Anambra State, and Hope Uzodinma, (APC), Imo State, broke rank with their colleagues.
The Southern Goverors’ Forum had mandated states in the southern region to enact anti-open grazing laws before September 1, 2021. The two South East Governors however chose to thump their noses at the decision, saying all is well with their states.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State had seized the opportunity of a meeting with the President in Abuja to announce his pullout.
He told journalists after his meeting that there won’t be an Imo law against open grazing of animals. Instead, he said his state preferred “partnership between farmers and herders.”
Anambra State sang a different tune by announcing that Anambra farmers and herders enjoy good relationship.
State Commissioner for Information, C. Don Adinuba, said there is a conflict resolution mechanism in place for the state.
“We have a committee that interfaces with the herders and farmers in the state over the years and it is working effectively. There is no need for such laws since there is no problem in the state,” he said.
However, Abia State had earlier passed the anti-open grazing law in 2018, long before the Lagos Mandate of Southern Governors Forum.
Its title is “Control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing and Prohibition of Grazing Routes/ Reserve Law, 2018.”
The law seeks to control nomadic cattle rearing and prohibit grazing routes in Abia. Specifically, it provides that “entry of trade cattle into the state shall be by rail or by road haulage.”
In the same way, movement of trade cattle to major towns in the state is restricted to trucks, trailers/vehicles and pickup vans.
Enugu State House of Assembly has just passed the anti-open grazing bill.
The Enugu version of the law is titled “Prohibition of Open Grazing and Regulation of Cattle Ranching Bill.” It is not yet clear if the bill has been presented to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his assent.
Ebonyi State House of Assembly said it had received the Executive Bill and that it was being considered by the House.
Chairman, House Committee on Information, Ali Okechukwu, did not say at what stage of the process the bill is. He simply told newsmen that the bill was not ready.
In Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike, has already signed the bill presented to him into law. The Rivers version is entitled “Open Rearing and Grazing Prohibition law, No.5 of 2021”
Governor Wike said on the occasion that open grazing was “inimical to development and peace.”
Bayelsa State has not only passed the law but has begun its implementation. Governor. Douye Diri had constituted an implementation committee headed by his Agriculture Commissioner for the task.
It was reported that since then, herders have relocated to areas approved for them to graze their cattle in the State.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has equally signed the State’s anti open grazing bill into law, and promised to publicize its contents to enable citizens and residents know when they are breaching it.
Ekiti was the first state to pass an anti-open grazing law in 2016, which was subsequently amended in 2018, and is being enforced by a State security outfit called Agro Rangers.
Oyo State also has an anti-open grazing law in place since 2019.
Ogun State House of Assembly passed the “Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Bill” last month. Governor Dapo Abiodun has however not assented to it to make it a law.
Osun State House of Assembly also passed the anti-open grazing bill last month. It is titled “Osun State Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranches Establishment Bill “
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has yet to assent to it in order to become law.
In Delta State, reports had it that
some members of the House of Assembly were on vacation, leaving behind the anti-open grazing bill unattended.
In Lagos State, an executive bill on anti-open grazing bill is still languishing in the State House of Assembly. It has only gone through first reading. Lagos is the designated permanent secretariat of Southern Governors Forum.
In Akwa Ibom State Gov. Udom Emmanuel is yet to forward a bill to the House of Assembly for consideration, while Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, said the House was waiting for Gov. Ben Ayade to send the bill.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State is not in a hurry to attend to the demand of Southern Governors Forum on anti-open grazing law as there is no executive bill before the State Assembly.