By Gabriel Enogholase – Benin
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has insisted that he will 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, the State chairman of Cattle Breeders Association known as Miyyeti Allah, Alhaji Mohammed Fosal, has exonerated 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.
Governor Obaseki who presided over a town hall meeting on the anti-open grazing law in Benin, stated that his administration will not want to rely on needless arguments by some individuals who were intolerance of herders to put up a law that would be difficult to implement in the State, hence the need to brainstorm.
Obaseki 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.
According to the governor, “I don’t want to sign a law and tomorrow it becomes a piece of paper.
“But separate bandits from genuine ones without sentiments or hate 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 were 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.
Marcus Onobun, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, assured of legislative support, adding that the Town Hall meeting has doused the tension of concerned citizens of the State.