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Conflict Averted During Public Hearing On Open Rearing And Grazing Bill

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By Olusakin Babalola, Ibadan

Conflict was averted in Ibadan on Wednesday during the Public Hearing on a Bill to prohibit Open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock and monitor the regulations of the activities of Herdsmen and farmers in Oyo state.

The State House of Assembly said that the Bill was not made against any religion or ethnicity,but the Herders association claimed that some of the contents of the Bill are directly in contravention to the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government.

The National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association, Alhaji Sale Bayari declared that the bill would never work in view of his observation that it was in conflict with national interest.

The speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Debo Ogundoyin in his remark , noted that there is a need for peaceful coexistence between the farmers and herders, adding that agriculture, crop, and animal husbandry remain major economy in the state.

“There is a need for us to continue to live in peace and harmony, Fulani and the farmers have been living together for long time ago and nobody outstide his/her boundary or herders grazing their cattle in a way that will destroy farm input.

Ogundoyin stressed that no government will open its eyes and allow its people being killed unlawfully, noting that the present administration in the state is committed to ensuring security of lives and property of its citizenry.

“Some parts of the state particularly Oke-Ogun side are the mostly affected, only in atmosphere of peace that economic development can take place, so all arms must be on deck to address issue of insecurity in the state.

In his opening remark, the chairman, committe on Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Peter Ojedokun pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was to receive input from the stakeholders on a Bill for a Law to Prohibit Open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock and Provide for the Regulation of activities of Herdsmen in the state.

He explained that the Bill is aimed at addressing the crises between Farmers and the Herdsmen and other insecurity matters especially in rural areas in providing enabling environment for both the Farmers and the Herdsmen to carry out their Business.

Ojedokun noted that it is an indisputale fact that the state of the nation to be financially buoyant,her production capacity must be strongly put in place, ‘in our dear state one of the strongest section to be reckoned with when talking of production capacity is Agriculture, it is not out of place to call on stakeholders contribution on ways to sustain agricultural productivity in the state.

“This Bill is a private Member Bill, sponsored by the Rt Honorable Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the House, The Bill was introduced on the floor of the House on Thursday, 25th July, 2019 and passed through the 2nd reading, in view of the Bill, it was unanimously resolved that the House should hold a Public Hearing to receive inputs from the Stakeholders, Ojedokun said.

However, the National Chairman of the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari said that the anti grazing bill is not practicable because some of the contents of the Bill are in direct contravention to the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government.

“What they are saying is entirely different from what is on ground that the law is not made in targeting any group or ethnicity, for instance, no state can defined who a citizen of country is and the qualification of a person to be a citizen of Nigeria.

We are not supporting illegality, anybody found wanted should be punished according to the law of the land, government should ensure that any person who committed crime are dealt with irrespective of his or her tradition or ethnicity.

“Nomadic grazing has been in existence from the time of Moses in the bible, Nigeria can live in any part of the country and have means of livelihood, they also have a right of entry and exist, it is not good when a single person commit crime, and as a result of that the government now made law in generality to regionised and ethnisised a crime, this will on the other hand increase a crime.

His remark elicited diverse reactions between the farmers and Hausa Fulani stakeholders who are separately protecting their interests.

Traditional rulers present at the House doused tension but emphasised that for peace to reign the in state the Bill should be allowed to become law in view of the optimism that it would cater for all interests.

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