To halt the rising wave of clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Ekiti State, culminatinmg in the death of innocent citizens, the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Wednesday began a public hearing on the proposed Prohibition of Cattle Grazing Bill, 2016.
Stakeholders, who participated in the public hearing on the bill tagged: ‘Prohibition of Cattle Grazing Bill , 2016’ were : Security agencies, traditional rulers , officials of the Ministries of Justice and Environment, Fulani Community, Cattle Rearers and other stakeholders .
Fayose had during the May 20, 2016 invasion of Oke Ako, a community in Ikole Local Government, leading to the death of two persons pledged the enactment of a law that would bar free grazing in the state.
While addressing the participants in the hallowed chamber of the House of Assembly, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Segun Adewumi, who presided over the session , said incidences of bloody clashes between the herdsmen and farmers in recent time had attracted government’s attention and that there should be an enabling law to halt the bad scenario.
Adewumi added that the bill when passed into law would protect the lives and property of Ekiti residents, saying the public hearing became imperative being an important and reliable way of seeking the opinions of critical stakeholders in the matter.
“This forum is for us to aggregate the opinions of stakeholders to address sensitive areas of the bill. The major assignment before this gathering is to critically examine the bill from all sides and angles for possible amendments.
“Our hope is that the public hearing will help the quality of the bill and enhance its quick passage into law”, he said.
The Legal Adviser, Jamu Nate Fulbe Association of Nigeria, Mr Umar Imam , said though the body is not opposed to the passage of the bill, but urged the lawmakers to reconsider its stand on the barring of night grazing .
Imam urged the assembly to mandate those that will move their cattle at night to get permission from the state government, saying compelling situations could make them embark on movement at night.
He disagreed with section 2(1) and 2 which suggested 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 of his clients .
Concerning the barring of the herdsmen from carrying arms like knife, catapult and Dane gun in the proposed bill, Imam said the country has enough laws guiding the carrying of firearms, saying enacting another law could run contrary to the provision of the constitution.
The representative of Cattle Rearers’ Association of Nigeria, Ekiti chapter, Alhaji Mohammed Zaiyannu urged the lawmakers to take provision for the formation of a vigilante group comprising members of all critical stakeholders and security agencies to be able to arrest those that are wreaking havoc on farmlands at night.
The Elemure of Emure Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebayo, who represented the Council of Traditional Rulers, said what the monarchs are interested in is peaceful co-existence between the farmers and the cattle rearers.
He said the traditional rulers in the state are particularly miffed by the manners of killing and wanton destruction of property by evil doers under the guise of cattle rearing, saying this bill will help in stemming the tide of these criminality.
The Deputy speaker promised that the Assembly will expedite action on the passage of the bill for Governor Fayose to assent to it in due course.