From: Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, on Monday, signed the state Anti-Open Grazing Bill, recently passed by the state’s Assembly into Law.
Ishaku said that the law became expedient on him as the Chief executive of the state who has the responsibility to ensure the security, safety and wellbeing of lives and property of the citizens.
He lamented that the “activities of these herdsmen have not only resulted in total destruction of farmlands, but heartless killings of farmers using sophisticated AK47 automatic guns, and in most cases, destruction of settlements, rustling of cattle belonging to indigenous herdsmen and cattle herders”, a development he said had to be stopped at all cost.
Ishaku said that the transition period from open grazing to ranching will be six months within which a sensitization committee will educate the cattle rearers and farmers on the symbiotic relationship that will be developed between them, and pilot ranches will be established by the government in the three senatorial zones of the state as referral centres, while farmers will be organized to cultivate special grasses that would be sold as feeds to ranchers.
“As the head of this government, the responsibility lies on me to do all I can to find a lasting solution to this situation that has consumed hundreds of lives, farm produce, cattle and destruction of several communities. With this burden in my heart, I felt the best this government needed to do was to enact law that would regulate the movement of herdsmen and their cattle in the Taraba state….
“This led to my decision to submit this Executive Bill to the state Assembly for their consideration. It is to the credit of the House that today we as a government are making this strong declaration that we are conscious of the frustrations our people have endured in the past four years and are ready to take this bold step to address them”, Ishaku said.
Ishaku lamented that some elites had resulted to playing politics with the lives and wellbeing of the citizens to the extent that they put up steep opposition to the Bill even when they could not provide an alternative solution to the wanton killings and destruction of property and settlements.
The state Assembly last week passed the Bill dubbed ‘Taraba State Open Grazing Prohibition And Ranches Establishment Bill’ into law, after holding public hearings in the three senatorial zones of the state on the Bill.
Daily Sun recall that Taraba state is one of the worse hit states in the wave of attacks on farmers and farming communities across the country by gun wielding herdsmen, creating food shortage and displacing thousands, apart from several deaths.