LAWMAKERS in the Ogun State House of Assembly have initiated plans to legislate on animal husbandry and related activities in a development that will make open grazing illegal and force all herdsmen and pastoralists to operate from ranches.
Nigeria is currently being torn apart by the menace of marauding Fulani cattle herdsmen who have terrorised the country with their violence. These herdsmen have destroyed farms as their livestock eat farmers’ crops and when local communities complain, the response is for the pastoralists to attack villages with AK47 assault rifles.
Of late, the herdsmen have graduated to other crimes like kidnapping, rape, banditry and armed robbery. Earlier this month, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State threw the cat amongst the pigeons by defending the right of the herdsmen to carry automatic weapons like AK47 assault rifles, saying they needed them to defend themselves.
In a bid to address the menace, several states have opted to ban open grazing and Ogun State is now set to follow suit. Hon Olakunle Oluomo, the speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, pointed out that plans are underway to legislate on animal husbandry with an all-inclusive law on anti-open grazing.
Speaking during a parley with executive members of the Ogun State Coalition of Civil Societies led by its chairman, Yinka Folarin, the speaker recalled that stakeholders, including some northern leaders, had openly condemned the uncontrolled wandering of cattle, which had resulted in series of attacks and criminal activities associated with herdsmen/farmers’ clashes across the state, especially in the Yewa axis. He noted that the assembly had equally finalised plans to engage relevant stakeholders through public hearings to put in place laws for the creation of an agency for the collection and maintenance of database for all residents in Ogun State.
According to Hon Oluomo, a database would provide verifiable details and bio-data on all pastoralists to improve on security operations of residents across the state. He outlined the efforts of the ninth assembly towards addressing insecurity, which included the speedy passage of the State Security Network Operations code-named Operation Amotekun, as well as the passing of the State Security Trust Funds bill.
Hon Oluomo said the assembly would continue to partner with civil societies and professional bodies amongst others to further harness their views and submissions to curb the menace of insecurity in the state. Mr Folarin applauded the leadership of the assembly for the passage of people-oriented legislation.