By Gabriel Enogholase
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, has assured that a draft copy of the proposed Edo Anti-Grazing Bill would be sent to the state House of Assembly for legislative consideration before the end of October 2021.
He, however, insisted that he would not be coerced into signing Edo Anti – Open Grazing Law without wide consultations with the people, just as he charged the people to separate killer herdsmen from the genuine ones.
Meanwhile, state chairman of Cattle Breeders Association, as known as Miyyeti Allah, Alhaji Mohammed Fosal, has exonerated the indigenous Fulani ethnic group, who are into livestock farming from reported killings and responsible for farmers and herders conflicts in some parts of Edo State.
Obaseki who presided over a town hall meeting on the anti-open grazing law in Benin City, said that his administration would not want to rely on needless arguments by some individuals, who were intolerance of herders to put up a law that will be difficult to implement in the state, hence the need to brainstorm.
Obaseki said: “I assured you that a draft copy of the proposed Edo Anti-Grazing Bill would be sent to the State House of Assembly for legislative consideration before the end of October 2021.
“I don’t want to sign a law, and tomorrow it becomes a piece of paper. But we must separate bandits from genuine ones without sentiments or hate for cattle dealers and rearers.”
However, the Meyetti Allah, leader, Alhaji Fosal who spoke through an interpreter, alleged that indigent Fulani ethnic group in the state was peaceful, but noted that their counterparts from Kogi, Abuja, with criminal tendencies were allegedly responsible for kidnappings, robberies, and cattle rustling
He said that 54,000 cow meat (beef), representing 75 percent of 72, 000 cows that are slaughtered by registered abattoirs and consumed by residents in Benin City yearly were sourced outside Edo State.
He also revealed that 45 percent of the beef consumed in Benin City was reared in the state while a significant number of the cows that are bred in the state find their way back to the northern part of Nigeria, where they are either sold or consumed.
Also speaking, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele, the Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque in Benin City and the state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Oriname Oyonnude-Kure, represented by Reverend Oriakhi David, appealed to relevant authorities in the state to carry out registration of nomadic herdsmen and cattle breeders in the state.
They also called on the traditional rulers and security agencies in the state to be alive to their responsibilities and challenged livestock owners not to only be concerned about profiteering, but be committed to due diligence in the event of destruction of economic crops by herders.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Marcus Onobun, assured of legislative support, adding that the town hall meeting had doused the tension of concerned citizens of the state.
Vanguard News Nigeria