EKITI SET TO CRIMINALISE NIGHT GRAZING

The Ekiti State House of Assembly on Wednesday conducted a public hearing on a bill seeking restrictions on cattle rearing in the state.

Governor Ayodele Fayose had placed restrictions on movement of cattles in the state following the May 20 night attack on Oke Ako, a town in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, by criminals suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

Two persons died from the attack while three others were rushed to separate private hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ado Ekiti.Fayose had during his visit to the town said that every cattle dealer in the state must own a ranch, ordering the villagers to start killing cattle sighted within their premises or farmlands.

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 herdsmen and other stakeholders.

The Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi, who presided over the hearing, said it was organised to seek opinions of critical stakeholders on the matter.

Adewumi added that the bill when passed into law would protect the lives and property of Ekiti residents.

“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.”

The Legal Adviser, Jamu Nate Fulbe Association of Nigeria, Mr Umar Imam, said though the body was not opposed to the passage of the bill, he urged the lawmakers to reconsider its stand on the banniing of night grazing.

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.

Imam said the country had enough laws guiding the carrying of firearms, saying enacting another law could run contrary to the provision of the Constitution.

The Secretary of Ekiti Cattle Rearers’ Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed Zayyannu, urged the lawmakers to consider a joint vigilance group, comprising farmers, herdsmen and security agencies to arrest those destroying farmlands.

The Elemure of Emure Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebayo, who represented the
Council of Traditional Rulers, said what the monarchs were interested in peaceful co-existence between the farmers and the cattle rearers.

The chairman of the Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, said ranches will be created in the senatorial districts under the proposed law.

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