The Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday passed the bill banning free cattle grazing in the state.
The bill prescribes six months imprisonment without an option of fine for offenders. It also bans movement of cattle in the state after 6pm.
The passage of the bill followed the submission of a report of the Joint Committees on Agriculture and Environment to the House.
The speaker of the House, Kola Oluwawole, who presided over the plenary, said the bill would reduce the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
The bill is tagged Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016. It prohibits cattle, sheep and goats from grazing on undesignated land.
It also provides that, “The Governor shall by an order designate land in each of 16 Local Government Areas in the state in respect of which Cattle or Ruminants may be permitted to graze.
“No person shall cause or permit any cow, oxen, sheep as well as goat under his or her control to graze on any land in which the Governor has not designated as ranches.
“No cattle or other ruminants shall by any means move in the night, movement shall be between 7 a.m and 6p.m.”
The bill was informed by the need to stem clashes between farmers and herders, one of which caused the death of two persons in May at Oke Ako, a community in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
But the cattle rearing community in the state had during the public hearing on the bill, rejected the provision banning night grazing.
Instead, they proposed that those on night grazing should get permission from the state government, saying compelling situations could make them embark on movement at night.
They also disagreed with section 2(1) and 2 which suggests that designated ranches will be provided by the government to restrict the cattle to a portion, saying this will lead to the death of the cattle.
They also suggested that the bill need not ban the carrying of firearms, knives and matches as the country already had enough laws dealing with that, saying enacting another law could run contrary to the provision of the constitution.