By Sunday Ani
The bill before the Lagos State House of Assembly seeking to ban open grazing of cattle in the state has also prescribed a 21-year-prison term for any herder found bearing arms.
This was contained in an executive bill titled: “Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill, 202,” currently before the House.
The legislator at a plenary on Monday unanimously condemned the incessant movement of cattle by herdsmen along some major roads and on people’s farms in the state, stressing that trespassing on people’s land would continue to be a threat to the peaceful coexistence in the state and country as a whole.
The lawmakers agreed that grazing cattle openly has led to food shortage as the herdsmen most often move their cattle into people’s thereby destroying their crops and ultimately leading to food shortage. They also added that lives and property worth millions of Naira have been lost due incessant clashes between the herdsmen and farmers, stressing that the only way to end such needless and senseless destruction of lives and property was to ban open grazing of cattle.
Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House was responding to the Southern Governors’ agreement to ban open grazing in all the 17 southern states after various state legislators have given it a legal backing, adding that there was need to identify herders operating in the state by registering them so as to know their total number.
Obasa equally advocated financial support for those who wants to go into ranching, saying that there was need for training of the pastoralists in order to prepare them ahead of the new style.
He later committed the bill to the House Committee on Agriculture and Cooperative and directed it to report back on Thursday.