Anti-open grazing bill not to witchhunt Fulani herdsmen- Oyo Assembly

herdsmen grazing within the centre
Herders grazing [Photo credit: Kemi Busari]

The Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday said the anti-open grazing bill before it is not targeted at Fulani herdsmen or cattle herders in the state.

The “Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Bill 2019” has passed second reading at the House of Assembly.

It was sponsored by the Speaker of the Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin; the deputy Speaker, Abiodun Fadeyi; Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin; and the Minority Leader, Asimiyu Alarape.

It aims to prohibit open grazing in the state.

The House had two weeks ago organised a public hearing on the bill during which farmers and some Fulani herders disagreed over its provisions.

The Farmers’ Ambassador, Azeez Maboreje, lauded the lawmakers for “taking the bull by the horns through the bill.

But the National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Sale Bayari, in an 18-page position paper, said the proposed law would punish poor herders. He said, “it is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman to go into ranching.”

Reacting on Monday, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Fadeyi, said the proposed law will not in any way punish or witchhunt Fulani herders in the state.

Mr Fadeyi spoke at a town hall meeting he organised in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), for the people of Ona-Ara state constituency which he represents.

At the town hall meeting were the NOA Director in the state, Dolapo Dosumu; former member of the State House of Assembly, Taiwo Ibrahim; former Chairman, Ona Ara Local Government Area, Taiwo Oke; traditional rulers; youth; and religious leaders.

Mr Fadeyi said the bill was aimed at generating more revenue for the state.

“We have passed many bills since we came in the last four months. Numerous bills. When this administration came into government, we enacted some of the bills to establish some of the ministries.

“And the one that is germane is the anti-grazing, open rearing bill and the anti-corruption bills. The anti-open grazing bill is not only discourse in the state alone, but it is also throughout the country. It is the bill that will help us in terms of generating revenue for the state.

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“We are talking about the anti-open grazing bill now that will help us in terms of the internally generated revenue (IGR), that will encourage private ownership of ranches and with a view to control or to curtail the movement of the herders from one place to the other indiscriminately.

“So these are some of the things the bill will be able to do and not to witchhunt the herders or anyone.”

Mr Fadeyi said he had presented motions in the House on security, persistent flooding incidents and curbing students roaming the streets during school hours.

He also promised to urge the executive to locate one of the faculties of the Oyo State Technical University in Ona Ara, present a motion before the Assembly to decentralise fire service stations and look into some other issues raised by his constituents at the town hall meeting.

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