From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A social cultural group, New Nigeria Initiative (NNI), has proposed a five-year jail term for herders found grazing in an authorized places in Edo State with the view of checking their excesses.
This was contained in a press statement entitled, “Banning of Open Cattle Grazing in Edo State”, signed by it president, Mr Uwadiae Odigie, and it secretary, Mr Igbotako Nowinta, made available to newsmen in Benin City.
Mr. Odigie said they have watched with bated breath the unimaginable atrocities and cruelties being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in every nook and cranny of Edo State where natives have fallen prey.
Odigie alleged that hundreds of women have been raped and killed, even in the presence of their husbands in the state, while residents sleep with eyes opened.
He said that the consequences of the prevailing horrors being experienced in the state are mindboggling, leading to a rise in the prices of agricultural products.
He added that the cost of living has become unbearable because farmers can no longer access their means of livelihood.
The president of the group said that the people of the state are held hostage by a dreaded group of Fulani herdsmen.
Odigie said that the proposed bill for law in Edo State was geared towards prohibiting open cattle grazing within the geographical space of Edo State.
He said to curtail the act of killings by violent herdsmen, herders who contravene the law would be sentenced to five years jail term.
‘Any person arrested under the provisions of this law shall be arraigned before the Magistrate’s Court,’ he stated.
‘Any person who contravenes the provisions of this law is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N150, 000 per cow or to imprisonment for not less than five years or both.
‘Any person who obstructs or assaults any officer in discharge of his duty assigned to him under the provisions of this law shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or two years imprisonment or both.’
He noted that more than 1,000 signatories have endorsed the bill for immediate deliberations which has been recommended to the Edo State House of Assembly, and prayed that it will be favourably passed into law.