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Open grazing: We will arrest, try lawless herdsmen —South-West governors

FOUR out of five South-West states that are experiencing the security threat posed by activities of Fulani herdsmen will arrest and put on trial any herdsman that breaks the law which bans night and open grazing in the states.

They have also said they would leverage on the recent pact signed at a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum with the leadership of the umbrella body of herders in the country, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), in Akure, Ondo State, on Monday, to put a stop to the menace.

However, a Fulani group, the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), has said the outcome of the Akure meeting was not binding on its members, saying the South-West governors conceded nothing to Miyetti Allah in the agreement reached. In an exclusive interview with Saturday Tribune, the national president of GAFDAN, Alhaji Sale Bayari, cited a number of reasons why his group is taking exception to the agreement, one of which, he said, was the fact that not every Fulani herdsman is a member of MACBAN. (See full interview on pages 8 and 25).

The governments of Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun states separately told Tribune Online on Friday that they were determined to apply the laws fully to stop attacks and security threats occasioned by the activities of the herdsmen in their respective states.

… We’ll use Amotekun to deal with erring herders- Oyo

The Oyo State government said on Friday that its anti-open grazing law would be implemented to the letter in dealing with herders who continue to engage in open grazing of their livestock.

Southwest governors

In particular, the state government said the 200 additional Amotekun corps members had been deployed in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun areas to ensure the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law.

Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, stated this in an interview with Saturday Tribune.

He implored residents of the state to report those seen still engaging in open or night grazing to security agencies, Amotekun, the Police Mobile Force Squadron 72 in Ago-Are, or call the state’s emergency number 615.

As against open grazing, Adisa said the law permitted ranching and therefore urged all those rearing livestock to seek land for ranching and obtain permit from the state government.

He added that the law stipulates registration of herdsmen with a N200,000 fine and/or two years imprisonment for those guilty of nonregistration.

Among others, the Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation law, 2019, states that anyone who engages in open rearing or grazing of livestock is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for five years or a fine of N500,000 or both.

Subsequent offenders shall upon conviction be liable to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of N2 million or both.

The law prohibits the movement of livestock on foot from one destination to another in the state, with all herdsmen mandated to submit themselves for registration and get an identification card, which must be worn at all times.

Furthermore, cattle movement is only permissible by rail wagon, truck or pick-up wagon, between 7.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m., while any person found moving livestock on foot is liable on conviction to imprisonment for five years or a fine of N500,000 or both.

The law bans a minor from grazing, herding or grazing of livestock except under the supervision of an adult, while the minor or owner of cattle is liable on conviction to a fine of N300,000 or three years imprisonment or both.

By the law, cattle owners are restricted to grazing livestock in approved ranches where persons wishing to set up ranches are to obtain permit from the state government for a period of three years, with renewal subject to the approval of the land owner.

However, the governor is empowered to revoke permit, without compensation, to the herdsman for any breach of security.

Herdsmen are to submit themselves to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for registration and after paying a specified fee, they are to be issued an identification card to be worn at all times.

The law stipulates a N200,000 fine and two years imprisonment for herdsmen found guilty of nonregistration, while anyone without identification card is liable on conviction to imprisonment for one year or a fine of N100,000 or both. Any herdsman who causes injury to any person is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for five years or a fine of N500,000 or both, and pay the medical bill of the injured person.

Also stipulated by the law is that whenever any livestock strays into any person’s land other than a ranch and causes destruction of crops, the herdsman is liable to pay compensation to the

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