Herdsmen roar over new anti-grazing bill in Oyo

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Locals sharing drinking well with animals in Northeast Borno - MK representative image

ThisDay: The Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Bill 2019, which has already passed the second reading at the state House of Assembly, may run into a hitch as Fulani herdsmen in the state have resolved to approach the court to stop it.

The bill, which was jointly sponsored by the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, and the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Abiodun Fadeyi, had two weeks ago witnessed a public hearing where stakeholders including farmers, groups and the Fulani community bared their minds on how to make it workable.

The National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari, in an 18-page position paper presented at the forum, said: “It is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman to go into ranching” and submitted that the bill if passed into law would punish poor herders.

However, the Fulani herdsmen, at a meeting held in Igangan, an agrarian community in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state, Wednesday, and presided over by the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abduk-Kadir, described the Oyo State Anti-Open Grazing Bill as “too draconian” and targeted at crippling them from practising their age-long cattle rearing activities across the state.

“We will go to court. We will seek legal redress if Oyo State Government insists on imposing this Bill on us,” the Fulani herdsmen unanimously resolved at the end of the meeting which lasted over five hours at the popular Kara Market in Igangan.

The state Secretary of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association, Mr. Garba Umar, while reading the communique of the meeting to journalists, said the Fulani herdsmen had resorted to rejecting the bill in its totality because they perceived it as one that would cause serious setback to their means of livelihood.

For the Anti-Open Grazing Bill to be implementable, the Fulani herdsmen appealed to the state government to provide RUGA or grazing reserve for cattle rearers where there would be easy accessibility to water and grazing facilities.

Failure to do this, the Fulani herdsmen maintained, “the implementation of the Bill as it is will cause commotion”.

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