By Mukwuzi Joseph
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has signed into law the Anti-Grazing Bill passed by the State House of Assembly, despite Miyetti Allah saying members would not recognise any anti-open grazing policy in the country.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, announced this in a statement made available to journalists in Akure yesterday, August 31.
According to Donald Ojogo, “the move is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum at its last meeting in Lagos where September 1 was set as the deadline for governors in Southern Nigeria to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law.”
“This is worthwhile and a very laudable development aimed at stemming needless instances of skirmishes, conflicts as well as infractions on the enviably peaceful disposition of the good people of Ondo State,” the statement said.
This is coming two days after herders, through their socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, described any anti-open grazing policy in the country as “satanic” and said they will not recognize such policy.
The herders said the anti-open grazing policy taking off today, September 1, had been overtaken by events, even as they declared their support for the Federal Government’s plan to revive grazing reserves, grazing routes and facilitate ranching in all the states.
National secretary of Miyetti Allah, Saleh Alhassan, said: “Nobody can do anti-grazing policy in Nigeria, where we are constitutionally guaranteed the right of movement and occupation.”
Explaining the import of the new law across the 18 local councils of the state, Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, said: “For emphasis, no particular group of persons is the target. While it is the hope of government that all residents would take an ample advantage of this law to enhance our socio-economic well being in Ondo, compliance of same shall be given the utmost attention.
“Government shall pursue with vigour, through lawful means, to ensure strict compliance. In this regard, details of the new law shall be made available to the public for proper information, more depth of understanding on contents as well as other relevant areas,”
While Oyo State claimed it has passed the anti-cattle grazing bill into law in 2019, the state is still having challenges with the implementation of the law as herdsmen move freely in some parts of the state unrestricted.