CEM REPORT | The Edo State Government as part of its commitment to tackling farmer/herders’ clashes has passed the anti-grazing law.
The Governor, Godwin Obaseki, announced at the Edo Central Security Council Meeting, held in Irrua, the Administrative Headquarters of Esan Central Local Government Area, Edo State.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Edo State Government now has a law which prohibits open grazing in Edo State. The bill has been signed into law by me. It was signed on the 27th of May and the objectives of the law are as follows:
“The law prohibits open grazing of cattle and other livestock in the state and creates designated ranching areas for the rearing and grazing of cattle and other animals in the state. It will control and regulate the grazing and rearing of cattle and other livestock in designated ranching areas of Edo State.”
He added that the essence of the law is to eliminate conflict between cattle headers and farmers while providing a conducive environment for large-scale crop production.
“It is meant to eliminate the conflict between nomadic cattle herders and their agents and the local breeders and owners, communities, farmers and private individuals and institutions. It will eliminate land degradation, air, and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation and other menaces arising from open grazing.
“It will create a conducive environment for large-scale crop production. It would promote modern techniques of animal husbandry through the creation of ranching areas. It would promote jobs and investment opportunities in cattle and other livestock farming.”
He stressed that the law will strengthen the relationship between herders of cattle and local communities while ensuring international best practices in dairy and beef production.
“it will ensure the control and management of diseases and enhance healthy breeding of cattle and other livestock animals. It will promote international best practices in dairy and beef production.
“It will promote and enhance high and healthier breed of livestock and ensure security in ranching areas and ensure good relationships between herders of cattle and local communities and individuals, and address the security challenges associated with open grazing in Edo State.”
Furthermore, the Governor said a livestock committee will be set up to facilitate the implementation of the law.
“There would be a cattle and livestock committee which will be chaired by a retired senior security officer, not below the rank of a major or its equivalent in any of the forces. It will have a representative of the governor on security matters. The committee will also have the state Chairman of the vigilante groups and three representatives of the vigilante group, one from each senatorial district.
“It will have a representative of the Commissioner of Police, Department of State Services, civil defence, Nigeria Legion, and the secretary will be in a rank of a chief state council.
“The Managing Director of EdoGIS will be on the committee; one representative of each of the traditional rulers from three senatorial districts will be on the committee; two representatives of registered cattle or other livestock farmers associations will be on the committee, while three community youths selected from the three senatorial areas of the state will be on the committee.”
“This committee will have a lot of powers to set the rules for anybody who wants to be involved in the livestock business in the state and also impose required fines. So, it is now a crime for anybody to just allow their cattle or animals to roam without control. And before the end of August, the committee will be constituted and inaugurated.”
The Governor while pledging continuous support to the local vigilante in the fight against crime and criminality, urged local government councils to ensure they register only persons of good character as vigilantes.
He appealed to community leaders to be conscious of newcomers and visitors of questionable character in their communities and make the appropriate report.