..defaulters risk 5-year jail term, N1 Million fine
A cross-section of Akwa Ibom people has hailed Governor Udom Emmanuel following the signing into law of the open grazing prohibition bill passed by the State House of Assembly.
The people of the state see the development as worthwhile, aimed at stemming needless instances of skirmishes, conflicts as well as infractions on the enviable peaceful disposition of the people of Akwa Ibom.
They have also commended the State House of Assembly for being responsive and sensitive to issues of great concern to the citizenry.
Governor Emmanel had posted on his social media handle, Facebook informing the public of his assent to the Anti-open Grazing Bill passed by the state legislature. Torrents of reactions greeted the development.
A London-based lawyer, Adede Steve Sam Akpan who hails from Etim Ekpo local government area in his reaction described the Governor’s assent as a milestone and a step in the right direction, aimed at maintaining peace in the State.
“Your Excellency this is a milestone law aimed at maintaining the peace currently being enjoyed in the state and importantly, this law represents what the majority of Akwa Ibom people actually want as it would arrest the historical injustice of cattle destroying people’s crops”.
Speaking on the development, the lawmaker representing Essien Udim State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Esse Umoh applauded the Governor for the speedy action he took on the matter, adding that the law will greatly promote unity, security, and peaceful coexistence among residents in the state.
Hon. Umoh, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Economic Development, posited that the new law will promote global best practices in livestock administration, regulation, and control in the state, as well as prevent the destruction of farmland and crops, while also reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in Akwa Ibom state.
“Our Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, is a man of peace, all the developments his administration has bequeathed us is founded on peace and this Law seeks to promote same.
“As a people, having understood the implications of the lack of peace and the gains of the prevalence of peace, Essien Udim Constituents are very happy with this Law and its attendant benefits”
While acknowledging the important roles of dealers and rearers of livestock as well as farmers to the state’s economy, Barr. Umoh, commended relevant and critical stakeholders, including the Igbo Community, Arewa Community, Civil Society Groups, Cattle Dealers Association, and Yoruba Community in Akwa Ibom State, whose useful suggestions were solicited and obtained in the legislative process that saw the enactment of the law.
Also reacting, a public affairs commentator, Mr. Otobong Sampson from Mkpat-Enin, who commented on the Governor’s social media handle, called for strict enforcement of the law to achieve the desired result.
“Strict enforcement beyond the passage should be the deal. The hovering dangers must be stopped in time before Akwa Ibom becomes a pool of blood”.
Ukeme James from Etinan who was excited over the Governor’s speedy ascent on the bill described him as a pragmatic leader.
“Well done my amiable governor, you are such an active leader”
On his part, a Lagos-based travels and tourism management consultant from Oro nation, Obong Kendy Edet Aduak, prayed God to bless the Governor for rising in defense of his people at such a time like this.
“I am a senior travel management consultant based in Lagos. I am also the BOT Chairman of Ibom Big Deal Club of Nigeria, a non-governmental organization established to empower Akwa Ibom people economically and also champion for the course of promoting good governance.
“Cattle and other livestock should not be allowed to roam about and be destroying people’s farmland. I want to really commend our governor for joining the rest of the southern governors to sign the anti-open grazing bill into law. With an enabling law now in place, defaulters will be charged to court. I must say this is indeed a welcome development.
“It will certainly put a stop to reported incidents of kidnapping, rape and killing of farm owners by herdsmen. God bless His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel”, he said
A youth from Uruk Uso in Ikot Ekpene, Udeme Udofia on his part argued that the law would put a stop to some evil that have been pepetrated against innocent farmers.
“On point His Excellency. In this one you have the full backing of Akwa Ibom people. No one should rob Peter to pay Paul for whatever reason”
Samuel Ekanem in his observation noted; “You’ve gotten this very correct, Your Excellency. You have the full support of Akwa Ibom people in this one”.
A cleric, Pastor Sylvanus Akpan advised the state government to set up a taskforce or a special purpose security outfit to oversee the strict implementation of the Anti-open grazing law in the State. “Please Mr Udom, what ever that will take you to resist all the wickedness, evil SATANIC manipulations that the APC are projecting against Akwa ibom, please do it. And please kindly within your power create some internal security and empower them because the enemies in APC want to take over Akwa ibom state like Cross River State”
A Journalist from Onna, Mr. Ebong Umofia, wants the government to interface with cattle rearers, so they can fully understand and appreciate the intent and content of the open grazing prohibition law which has now come into effect in the State.
” His Excellency, that’s just the best thing you have done. Akwaibomites that have cattles should provide ranches for their cattles, as these cattles, especially those ones along Onna- lkot Abasi Road are really destroying crops, while the owners of these farmlands suffer setbacks.
“We understand some highly placed government officials own these cattles. We, the farmers along the mentioned Onna – lkot Abasi Road shall appreciate your gesture by using your good offices as the Governor of our State to call these cattle owners to order, as all efforts to stop these herders and the cattles to further destroy our farmlands has proved abortive. God bless you His Excellency”.
Samuel Duncan had this to say about the new law in his commendation; “You have done beautifully wonderful.. May God continue to guide you aright as you steer steadily the ship of governance in Akwa Ibom State”
Speaking the minds of Akwa Ibom youths, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Matters, Comrade Anefiok Iwaudofia, said youths of the State especially those of them who have ventured into agriculture receive the news of the signing into law of the Open Grazing Prohibition Law with great excitement.
He noted that the law would help secure farms of youths who are already into agriculture.
The law which provides for the establishment of Ranches in the State is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum at its last meeting in Lagos where September was set as the deadline for governors in the Southern parts of Nigeria to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law to prevent future loss of lives occasioned by the frequent clash between herders and farmers.
The law which came into effect on the 14th of September, 2021 stipulates a 5 year jail term and N1million fine for defaulters, among others.
He said it would be unnecessary for anyone found culpable to attempt to use his power or influence, as the law will be fully invoked to ensure that justice is served.
The Governor, when he signed the bill into Law last week, said “the law will be used against you, irrespective of who you are, so make sure you create ranches to take care of your livestock.
” It is very painful for a farmer to wake and discover that his crops that he had toiled for several months, have been destroyed by your cattles.
“Just as you are rearing your animals to make profits, the farmer is also aiming for profits and as such you should not come and destroy his own business with yours.
“Once you are caught, such animals would be confiscated and the fine would add to the revenue of the state government, and shall also be used to settle the loss of the farmer,” Governor Emmanuel said.
The Budget signing by the Governor was witnessed by the State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN).
The new Law promotes modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattles, and aims to address clashes between herders and farmers in the state.
It also promotes international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.