Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, in southern Nigeria, said it makes no sense to pass an anti-open grazing bill without enforcing it by arresting and prosecuting those who break it.
The delay in signing the anti-open grazing bill in the state, according to Obaseki, is due to the necessity to design an implementable law that will put a stop to the state’s rising security and economic difficulties.
This was said by Obaseki at a Town-Hall gathering for stakeholders on the proposed Anti-Open Grazing Law.
“We are one of the few states that has not signed the bill into law,” Obaseki explained, “and the reason is clear: signing a law is quite straightforward.”
to sign a law is very simple, it doesn’t make sense to put out a law you cannot enforce.
“The best way of enforcing a law is to bring everybody together to be part of for that law. We have a crisis in our country, it is deeply rooted, there are different causes why these are happening, let us go to the root of the causes and resolve it from there.
“People have said that we have lived a hundred years together in harmony before now, why are we now having this problem today.
“If we don’t go to the reason why, then we will be scratching the surface, let us start by understanding why we are having this challenge.
“To sign a law is very easy, it doesn’t make sense to put out a law that you cannot enforce.
“The anti-grazing law in my view is to deal with some perception, I just want to tell you that this is not an issue between Christians and Muslims, it is not an issue between North and South, it is not an issue between Edo people and Fulani people.
“As long as we have decided that we will eat meats and drink milk, we will now have sit down and rearrange the business on how we will get the people who are producing the meat on how the must organize themselves.
“Let us not play politics with this issue, let us deal with this issue honestly and openly, there are security implications because some people have now joined and using these herders to perpetrate insecurity.
“My worry is that if we don’t celebrate them, to understand that the business in cattle herding is separate, so that we can know those people who are using cattle rearing to perpetrate crime and insecurity in our state we will be missing the point.
“There are people who are doing their legitimate businesses of cattle herding and producing meat and their criminals who want to destabilize our country and our state.”
The Representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Edo, Rev. Oriakhi Davies, in his contribution, said that cattle rearing is a private business and anybody interested in the business should go and acquire land for such businesses.
Davies suggested ranching as an alternative for open grazing.
He added that the government should create cattle feed or import cattle feed for cattle herders to purchase such feed from government.
The State Chairman of cattle dealers, Saad Ahmed, said that about 45 per cent of cows consumed in Benin comes directly from the North.
Ahmed appealed to the governor to take everybody equal irrespective of their religion and beliefs.
He said that God has blessed Edo where they have been living without any trouble.
He noted that most of the challenges caused by herders are from those who are coming from far part of the North to Edo.