Ogun State House of Assembly today held a public hearing on the proposed Animal Grazing and Cattle Ranch Establishment Law, 2020, with a consensus from stakeholders that the State should do away with the creation of designated grazing route and allow individual cattle rearers/herders to apply for land to create ranching for their cattle.
The stakeholders noted that it has became imperative as open-grazing had been creating a host of challenges resulting in farmers /herders clashes and now snowballing into kidnapping, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in some parts of the State.
Those who spoke including representatives of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Comrade Yinka Folarin, that of Cattle Rearers, Abel Solanke, Private Farmer, Ven. Olubunmi Adekunle, State Chairman, Farm Settlers Associations, Olalekan Odufo, State Chairman, Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Kuforiji Olayinka, Transition Chairman of Ijebu-East, Falujo Olalekan and his Imeko-Afon counterpart, Mr. Olusola Oke.
Other are the Permanent Secretaries Ministries of Agriculture, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, Forestry Mr. Lateef Benson as well as the representative of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breaders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Isiaka Ibrahim took turns to lend their voice in support of the bill at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
They described the proposed law as an all encompassing legislative instrument meant to improve on the peaceful co-existence in the State, especially between farmers and herders, to continue engaging in their lawful business without rancour, while canvassing for stringent measures including more strigent punishments particularly, increment in jail terms for anyone found culpable of engaging in attacks under the guise of animal husbandry or any other activities.
Calling for the total abolition of open grazing, they posited that ranching system would give the best solution to cattle rearing in modern practice, while urging the State Ministry of Agriculture to engage in animal profiling with a view to achieving effective cattle registration alongside their owners, this they noted would assist in preventing the outbreak of disease.
Earlier in his address, Speaker Olakunle Oluomo, explained that the forum was in line with present legislative practice and procedure to enable concerned stakeholders and interested residents have a robust discussion and deliberation towards achieving enabling legislation geared towards steaming the tides of herders and farmers clashes.
Decrying the high rate of crimes that had been associated with the farmers/herders clashes in recent time to include kidnappings in some parts of the State, he cautioned the people not to give ethnic colouration to crimes and criminality.
The Oluomo added that the forum was meant to achieve a legislation devoid of ethnic or religious sentiments but would be an aggregate of people’s views at instilling sanity in the pastoral activities, especially as planting season approaches.
“Let me assure all stakeholders present here that this bill, seeking to regulate animal grazing, establishment of cattle ranches in designated grazing areas of Ogun State in the State will be given accelerated passage to regulate animal grazing in the State. The bill is aimed at providing enabling environment, for improving of the socio-economic activities in our dear State”, the Speaker submitted.