From Magnus Eze, Enugu’ Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure; Paul Osuyi, Asaba; Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan; Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
We’re not backing down from our resolve to implement the anti-open grazing law. And, please, watch your words, because you don’t know what is coming your way. This is the message that Southern governors want delivered to the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Socio-cultural Organisation and its president, Abdulahi Bodejo.
Their reactions followed the boasts by the Miyetti Allah President that the anti-open grazing law passed by Southern states merely exists in the media and is not implementable.
In his response, the Chairman, South West Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu declared that there is no going back on the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in all the six states of the South West.
The governor who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Richard Olatunde reiterated that the governors are determined to end open grazing, and to encourage a refined standard of animal grazing. He noted that Governor Akeredolu had, at different fora, made his position and that of his colleagues known, adding that there is nothing more to say except to wait for action.
Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu argued that in the long run Miyetti Allah could turn out to be the ones daydreaming and grandstanding. “We don’t know what they mean by that but in Delta, we are in the process of gazetting the law,” he informed. “Once that is done, the police have the responsibility to implement all laws whether made by the federal, state or local government. As a nation, we are still operating the 1999 Constitution which gives state assemblies the power to make laws for the good governance of their respective states. So anybody who is saying that the law is not implementable, I don’t know where they are deriving their authority and power from.”
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State dismissed the talk as mere hogwash and wishful thinking. The governor, who spoke to Saturday Sun on Friday through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, assured that the law, which is more than one year old in the state, is being fine-tuned with the mind of getting it implemented. And, as soon as that is done, a task fore would be put in place to supervise the implementation.
In Bayelsa State, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said that the anti-open grazing law named Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law 2021, passed by the Bayelsa House of Assembly on March 9 and signed into law by Governor Douye Diri on March 10 is being implemented without qualms.
“Before now, we used to see herders roaming about major roads with their cattle but since March when Governor Douye Diri signed the anti-open grazing law, it has stopped,” he said. “Those saying the law is not working cannot speak for Bayelsa because it is working in Bayelsa. The law is working and it is being enforced and respected by all parties, including the Miyetti Allah.”
Buttressing Alabrah’s point, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Chairman of the Bayelsa State Livestock Management Committee, Mr. David Alagoa, noted that except the violation that led to the confiscation of 43 cows, there has been no other violation of the law in the state.
Chilos Godsent, President, Igbo National Council, urged community leaders in the South East to mobilize their youths and vigilantes to help enforce the ban if the region’s governors fail to set up task forces like their Oyo State counterpart intends to do to implement the anti-open grazing law.
The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) described the threat by the Myetti Allah that anti-open grazing law will not be enforced in Southern Nigeria as absolute balderdash.
President General of the group, Goodluck Ibem said the Myetti Allah cannot tell people in the South how to live or run the society.
Ibem said: “It is unacceptable in a lawful society for a group of people to think they will Lord everything over other people. There is no going back on the anti-open grazing law and it will be implemented vigorously in the Southern region.”