Governors of Imo and Anambra reject anti-open grazing law agreed by Southern Governors Forum at their 5 July Lagos meeting.
The two that broke ranks with their colleagues include Governors Willie Obiano (Anambra, APGA) and Hope Uzodinma (Imo, APC).
The Forum mandated states in the southern region to enact anti-open grazing laws before 1 September 2021.
However, the two South East Governors chose to thump their noses at the decision, saying all is well with their states.
Gov. Uzodimma of Imo State seized the opportunity of a meeting with the President in Abuja to announce his pullout.
He told journalists after his meeting that there won’t be an Imo law against open grazing of animals.
Instead, he said his state prefers “partnership between farmers and herders.”
Anambra however sang a different tune by announcing that Anambra farmers and herders enjoy a good relationship.
At any rate, there is a conflict resolution mechanism in place for them, Government spokesperson, Chief C. Don Adinuba said.
“We have a committee that interfaces with the herders and farmers in the state over the years and it is working effectively.
“There is no need for such laws since there is no problem in the state,” he said.
Governors reject anti-open grazing law demand
Anti-grazing law existing prior
Abia State passed the anti-open grazing law in 2018, long before the Lagos Mandate of Southern Governors Forum.
Its title is “Control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing and Prohibition of Grazing Routes/ Reserve Law, 2018.”
The law seeks to control nomadic cattle rearing and prohibit grazing routes in Abia. Specifically, it provides that “entry of trade cattle into the state shall be by rail or by road haulage.”
In the same way, movement of trade cattle to major towns in the state is restricted to trucks, trailers/vehicles and pickup vans.
Ekiti made quite a fuss and was in the forefront of resistance to open grazing.
Thus, the State was the first to pass an anti-open grazing law in recent times.
The law, passed in 2016, was subsequently amended in 2018.
It is being enforced by a State security outfit called Agro Rangers.
Oyo State has an anti-open grazing law in place since 2019.
Reports however suggest that the law is lax as cows and other animals freely roam in the wild and in farms.
The efforts of activist Sunday Igboho to displace rampaging cattle in Oyo is a pointer to the weakness or lack of zeal in enforcing the law.
Bill passed, signed into law
Bayelsa not only passed the law but has begun its implementation.
Gov. Douye Diri constituted an implementation committee headed by his Agric cmCommissioner for the task.
Reports say herders have relocated to areas approved for them to graze their cattle in the State.
Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday signed the State’s anti open grazing bill into law.
He promised to publicize its contents to enable citizens and residents know when they are breaching it.
The Governor also assured that the law was not targeting any group of persons.
Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, also signed the bill presented to him into law with a flourish.
The Rivers version is entitled “Open Rearing and Grazing Prohibition law, No.5 of 2021”
He said on the occasion that open grazing is “inimical to development and peace.”
Bill passed, yet to be signed
Enugu State House of Assembly said yesterday that it has passed the anti-open grazing bill.
The Enugu version of the emerging law is titled “Prohibition of Open Grazing and Regulation of Cattle Ranching Bill.”
It is not yet clear if the bill has been presented to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his assent.
Ogun State House of Assembly passed the “Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Bill” last month.
Governor Dapo Abiodun has however not assented to it to make it a law.
Osun State House of Assembly passed the anti-open grazing bill last month.
It is titled “Osun State Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranches Establishment Bill “
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has yet to assent to it in order to become law.
Bill languishing in the House
Ebonyi State House of Assembly says it received the Executive Bill and that it is being considered.
Chairman, House Committee on Information, Ali Okechukwu, did not say at what stage of the process it is.
He simply told newsmen that the bill was not ready.
There are reports, though not verified, that some members of the House travelled to London on a vacation.
Among the tasks they left behind is the bill on anti-open grazing.
None of the House members will speak on the matter, try as journalists did to prod them.
An executive bill on anti-open grazing bill is still languishing in the State House of Assembly.
It has only gone through first reading before yesterday’s deadline.
Lagos is the designated permanent secretariat of Southern Governors Forum.
No bill in sight
Akwa Ibom State
Gov. Udom Emmanuel has irritated quite a few residents by not forwarding a bill to the House of Assembly for consideration.
So far, he has paid deaf ears to pleaders and hecklers trying to convince him that the anti-open grazing law is good for the State.
Cross River State
Cross River State House of Assembly Speaker, Eteng Williams, said the House has been waiting for Gov. Ben Ayade.
“We are waiting for it. The southern governors have made a statement on it, which all of us support.”
The wait continues.
Governor Godwin Obaseki is in no hurry to attend to the demand of Southern Governors Forum on anti-open grazing law.
There is no executive bill before the State Assembly.
Unlike Anambra and Imo States, he has not expressly stated that he does not plan to send one.
Governors reject anti-open grazing law
Here’s a tabular representation of the position of southern states on anti-open grazing law, as at today 2 September 2021
|Existing Law||3||Abia |
|New Law, Signed||3||Bayelsa|
|New Law, Unsigned||3||Enugu |
|Law in the Making||3||Ebonyi|