…joins Rivers, Ondo, others
By Moses Adeniyi
Open grazing within the territorial space of Lagos State has been criminalised as the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assented to a bill prohibiting “Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land.”
The assent by the Governor, bringing the legislation into force, came barely 11 days after the State’s House of Assembly on Thursday September 09, unanimously passed the bill and subsequently transmitted it to the Executive arm for baton of force.
Following the assent, occupation of unapproved public areas and private land with livestock for grazing, has been criminalised for cattle breeders in the State. The law also prohibits the act of moving cattle round public places by herders.
The signing of the bill constitutes the State’s version of the anti-open grazing law resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum in July, setting September 1 deadline to pass the law across member States.
It would be recalled that despite opposition from some quarters, the Governors following their July 05 resolution in Lagos which was a follow up on their stand in the Asaba resolution, have remained resolute on enacting the law across the region — a decision which was further entrenched in their last meeting in Enugu.
The resolution has been said to be a proactive measure to foreclose the escalation of crises borne by open grazing which were recently witnessed in some States within the region.
While farmers-herders crisis is not pronounced in Lagos, assenting to the anti-open grazing law in the State has been noted to be in confluence with the decision of the Southern Governors’ Forum which in July chose Lagos as their formal Secretariat; just as it is expected to foreclose the chance of the ugly menace in the State.
Sanwo-Olu, who assented to the bill during the State’s Executive Council meeting at the State House, Ikeja Alausa, directed security agencies to with immediate effect swing into action for enforcement of the provisions of the law.
He said: “By the powers vested in me as the Governor of Lagos State, I am signing the bill on Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land into law to prohibit issues associated with open grazing of livestock.”
No less than 10 Assemblies of the 17 southern states have passed the anti-open grazing laws including Ekiti, Lagos, Enugu, Osun, Oyo, Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa and Ondo states.
In their last Thursday’s resolution in Enugu, a communique following the meeting had partly read that the forum “expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, had in honour of the September 1 deadline set at the Lagos July 05 meeting, signed his State’s version of the anti open grazing bill into law on the 31st of August.
The State’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, had quoted the Governor to have said: “The move is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum at its last meeting in Lagos where September 1st was set as the deadline for Governors in Southern Nigeria to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law.”
Akeredolu who chairs the forum, had later said the law wasn’t targeted at anyone or group in the Country.
Earlier in August, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had signed into law the bill criminalising open grazing in his State. This was just as his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Governor Udom Emmanuel trailed the line last Wednesday.