By Henry Odeh
The Oyo state house of assembly has today passed the long anticipated Anti-Open Grazing And Rearing Bill 2019 into law, making it a crime for anyone in the state regardless of ethnicity found in violation of the law and will be liable for punishment under the laws of the state, making Oyo state the second state from the Southwestern part of Nigeria after Ekiti state with a similar law.
The bill which gained prominence and accelerated legislative process among other bills before becoming a law was designed to put a perpetual end to the menace of incessant herders/farmers clashes resulting to loss of lives and properties in Oyo state and to promote peaceful coexistence and harmony among all ethnicities resident in Oyo state, improve appreciation of unity in Nigeria’s cultural diversity as well as provide adequate security for both farmers and herders in the state respectively.
Recall that the bill in the course of legislative process was subjected to serious scrutiny because of the sensitivity attached to it after which it was subjected to a public hearing to which all stakeholders including Miyetti Allah, farmers associations in the state, representatives of all security operatives in the state, local vigilante groups, traditional rulers and other relevant bodies were all invited to ensure that the society the law is to serve is fully abreasts of everything the law entails but of all the entire stakeholders invited to the public hearing, only Miyetti Allah group held a divergent position stating that the law is alien to its members as fulani members are normadic by nature.
The Chairman, house committee on Agriculture, honorable Ojedokun Peter Gbadegesin in his remarkd shortly after the bill was passed into law stated that the law is not targeted at any ethnicity or tribe as been insinuated by some people in some quartre noting that there are punishments for farmers and herders alike in the law, calling for all to be law abiding by upholding the laws of the state and being responsible to their duties as good citizens.
The speaker of the house, Rt Hon. Adebo Edward Ogundoyin stated that the law is aimed at putting a perpetual end to the incessant crisis emanting from farmers/herders clashes across the state leading to avoidable deaths and destruction of properties, and considering the security challenges faced by the country at large at the moment, there could be no better time for the law than now.
Rt hon. Ogundoyin appealed to all the people in Oyo state to give the present government under governor Seyi Makinde maximum support in its quest to provide adequate security for everyone in the state and its desire to provide a peaceful and enabling environment where real investments leading to economic prosperity can be achieved in the state.