From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has promised to engage South East governors yet to initiate action on the anti-open grazing law as agreed by the Southern Governors’ Forum.
Ohanaeze stated this while applauding Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for signing into law, the bill on anti-open grazing in his state.
Ugwuanyi had on Tuesday assented to the bill, which prohibits open grazing and regulates cattle ranching, as passed by the state House of Assembly on September 2.
At a meeting in May in Asaba, Delta State, 17 southern governors had resolved to ban open grazing in the region to curb herdsmen-farmers conflicts. They set September 1 deadline for states in the zone to enact laws to ban open grazing.
However, as at yesterday, Imo and Anambra were yet to pass the law nor initiate the process.
Ohanaeze in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, commended Ugwuanyi for keeping faith with the agreement reached at the Southern Governors’ Forum saying the governor’s assent to the bill would improve peace and security in Enugu State.
“Ugwuany has shown character and integrity,” it said assuring that Ohanaeze would continue to engage other South East governors who were yet to initiate action on the policy until the entire South East was free from herders-farmers conflict.
Ohanaeze said at a meeting with South East governors at Government House, Owerri, Imo State, it had urged all governors in the zone to put the machinery in motion for laws on anti-open grazing, a position that was rooted in its philosophy for peace and unity in the country.
The group said the major source of conflict between herdsmen and the Igbo indigenous farmers was the unconscionable open grazing by the herdsmen.
“Nothing can be as disheartening as waking up in the morning to discover that one’s farm has been ravaged by cows. The worst is that any form of protestation by the indigenes against wilful damages will be met with all forms of attacks including, kidnapping, torture, maiming and in some cases killing.”