By Gaius Osaretin
The Edo state Government under the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki, the executive Governor of Edo state is one among the Southern Governors to implement the Anti-Open Grazing law.
The Governor in his engagement with stakeholders comprising religious leaders, traditional rulers, youth, civil society groups amongst others reiterated his concern for the quest by the Edo people for an immediate implementation of the decision of Southern Governors to ban Open Grazing in the region.
He noted that before passing such law in the state, there should also be a provision for its enforcement owing to the security and economic implication it will amount to. He saw the need to engage stakeholders on his stance on the establishment of the law banning open grazing in Edo state.
The Governor’s action though favourable and unfavorable in different dimensions by critiques is a great and appropriate step in the right direction. Open Grazing had not still been fully implemented and enforced in some states where the bill was signed into law and this brought about the need to further look into the loopholes and plan appropriate modalities to go about the Bill in Edo state.
It is understood that many citizens are calling for the Ban on Open Grazing in the South owing to the crisis it has brought and the insecurity it posses. The farmers and herders clash, destructions of farmlands, kidnapping and Killing by herders as alleged. But it is pertinent to note that apart from the negative challenges, there are also positive economic benefits. Many of these cow are owned by indigenous persons in the south and it has also contributed to business and profit growth by the cattle owners. The Fulani herders do not own most of the cattle but are managers employed by the indigenous southerners. We cannot completely agree that most insecurity issues are from the herders as it could also be a bait by hoodlums to carry out their evil deeds. I have not seen any of the Fulani herders attacking humans when carrying cattle about in towns, cities and villages except there are bad ones among them which has been attested severally by victims.
The Governor Obaseki’s Model still hinge on the Ban on Open Grazing. There has been reactions from Edo Citizens on the visit by the Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki to President Muhammadu Buhari today, the 13th of October 2021 at the state House, Abuja. The purpose of the visit was misinterpreted by several critiques but to make it clearer, the Governor demanded funding from the Federal Government in building ranches to cater for the rearing of these cattle in order to put a stop to the Open Grazing which in the modern society is not acceptable and possess risk. Looking at this, we should understand that making laws on Open Grazing is not same as chasing the Fulanis from rearing cattle in the Southern regions. Cattle rearing has its economic value and we must understand that certain procedures must be followed to effectively manage the situation.
Anti Open Grazing law must be properly defined and the provisions for enforcement must be looked into before the Bill is passed and signed into law. However, we should not deny ourselves the economic value and the need to manage it effectively.