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Is Fayose’s Anti-Grazing Law Right? | Punch


The Ekiti State’s anti-grazing law is a right move to check the excesses of herdsmen, especially when one considers what has been happening in the country in the past few years. Farmers and villagers have suffered many losses as a result of herdsmen’s activities.

In other parts of the world, cattle rearers acquire land to develop ranches. But what we have in Nigeria is different. If other states go the Ekiti way, it would go a long way to curb the excesses of cattle rearers.

If we do not regulate the herdsmen, they would continue to kill framers and destroy their farms. That would be bad for the country. You cannot leave your state and go to another to destroy people’s properties because you want to sustain your business.

If the Federal Government does not want to do anything, the states should act fast before things get out of hands. Governor Ayo Fayose has demonstrated leadership. It is left for other governors to do the same thing to protect their people.

I do not think there is anything controversial about the anti-grazing law passed by the Ekiti State Government. What the state government has done is commendable.

I think it is high time the Federal Government put a law in place to regulate grazing in the country. If the Federal Government would not do that, other states should follow the Ekiti State Government example. I would be glad if other states enact a similar law and implement it. Nigerians have witnessed pains inflicted by herdsmen.

Nobody, except those with a mischievous motive, should disagree with the Ekiti State law. However, I feel charging herdsmen with terrorism for carrying light weapons amounts to taking the issue to the extreme.

The Ekiti State Government is the first to enact such a law. I think Nigerians should commend Governor Ayo Fayose for his courage. A governor is the first security officer of any state. If the law would stop the herdsmen from killing the residents of the state, it is welcome.

I only hope Fayose does not intend to go against the efforts of the Federal Government towards finding a lasting solution to the killings by herdsmen. He should know that President Muhammadu Buhari has a final say on the issue of national security.

If the Federal Government comes up with a conflicting law, it means the Editi law on grazing would become invalid.

But honestly, I think the Federal Government has to find a solution to the killings by herdsmen. Cattle rearers should be cautioned because the residents of their host communities cannot continue to tolerate their excesses.

It is very unfortunate that the Ekiti State Government is taking the first major step towards addressing the issue while the Federal Government chooses to continue to play politics with it. The Federal Government needs to do something urgent about the problem.

I think the law would go a long way in reducing the menace of herdsmen in the state. But it may not solve the problem. I also do not think the Ekiti State Government should charge herdsmen that break the law with terrorism. They could be charged with arm possession. Carrying arms is not a sufficient reason to charge an individual with terrorism.

Also, the terrorism dimension could make some people to give the law and Fayose’s intention a different interpretation. If the state government could expunge the aspect of terrorism from the law, I think the law is a good move.

As each state government has the responsibility to ensure the safety of its indigenes, the law is not a bad one. Other states are expected to emulate the Ekiti State Government example. I do not think the herdsmen would pretend that they are not aware of the law. What this means is that it is no long business as usual for them (the herdsmen). If they destroy farms or kill in the name of grazing, the law should take its course. The government should not stop at passing the law alone; it should implement it fully as well. That is the only thing that can make a difference.

First, I commend the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, for ensuring that the law was passed. It is long overdue. I believe each state government has the power to stop any wrongdoing in its domain in order to protect lives and properties. The herdsmen are not different from the Boko Haram sect or the militants. They kidnap, kill and even burn villages, both in the North and the South. The experience of Chief Olu Falae is still fresh in my memory. Why shouldn’t a responsible government do something to regulate such a people?

If the Ekiti State Government can ensure strict implementation of the law, I believe the people in the state would live in peace. Those who are opposing the law should know that the state government has a responsibility to protect Ekiti residents.

The anti-grazing bill is a good idea and any herdsman that goes against it should be prosecuted. A state government is expected to know what is good for the indigenes of its state. The law was duly passed by Ekiti lawmakers, who were elected by the people of the state. So, what is the worry of those who are criticising from outside the state? Fulani herdsmen have wreaked more havoc on the country than any other group in the past one year. I support any action taken by any state government to check their activities. Is it not surprising that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to take an appropriate action to protect Nigerian farmers against the menace of herdsmen? They have killed, raped women, kidnapped and robbed in almost every state. Yet, the Federal Government pretends the problem is trivial.

The style of Governor Ayodele Fayose makes it difficult to tell if the new law of the Ekiti State Government is in the interest of the people or targeted at spiting the Presidency whose body language does not seem to be in agreement with the banning of open grazing.

Neatly buried under the grazing controversy is our ethnic intolerance. Cattle taken to the South by northern herdsmen for grazing are primarily seen as assets belonging to the North, but southerners should realise that they also benefit by eating the meat of the cattle. In this light, southerners should exhibit some level of tolerance.

Some people think herdsmen should not have a space in the South. Lagos alone consumes about 5,000 cows daily.

Meanwhile, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has continued to explain that some criminals are masquerading as herdsmen. There are criminals in every trade or profession. But we seem to ignore that fact when it comes to the issue of grazing.

I think we need to go down the memory lane to review how we maintained peace among the diverse ethnic groups in the past. There is more to the law than meets the eye.

(Compiled by Geoff Iyatse and Adewale Ogungbemi)

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