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Herdsmen reject Anti-open grazing bill in Oyo

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Herdsmen in Oyo State have pleaded with the people of the state not to allow the proposed anti- grazing bill to sail through in the state House of Assembly.

They also expressed their displeasure with the proposed bill, saying it was a ploy to punish poor herders in the state.

Speaking during the public presentation of views and observation on the Grazing Regulations Bill 2019, held at the House of Chiefs, Agodi, Ibadan, the National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari, in an 18-page position paper delivered during the session, kicked against the bill and its sponsors.

The heardsmen leader said the bill, if passed into law, would punish poor herders.

“It is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman or rancher to go into ranching,” he said.

Bayari said the sponsors of the bill did not probe into the detailed history of the herdsmen and his cattle rearing culture, tradition and hereditary attachment to his means of livelihood, rather than the ‘business,’ as people were being made to understand.

The retired general asked why the bill failed to take into consideration the above set of people involved in the cattle business, unlike the commercial livestock farmers such as President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (retd), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, West Africa Milk Company and Alhaji Tafida Mafindi, among others.

Bayari asked rhetorically how a herdsman owning 50 cows or less could afford to lease a plot of ranch to keep and graze his livestock and buy feed for these animals, saying: “The maximum average total value of 50 cows at N150, 000 each is N7.5 million only.

He said: “From our calculations, one cow will eat grass, drink water, drugs and other maintenance costs to the tune of N1, 500 a day.”

“Despite Benue State being a northern state, it has been a very bad brother and neighbour to the Fulani herdsmen. Ironically, it is Oyo State among Yoruba states that has been and remained our true home as Nigerians, due to the wonderful warm and receptive nature of the great descendants of Oduduwa that the Fulani herdsmen have come to see and accept as their beloved great grandfather, too, due to the accommodating spirit, nature and character of the people of the Southwest.

“We shall continue to be law-abiding citizens of this state and here undertake to ensure that we fish out all the bad elements among us that are distorting the peace and tranquility of Oyo State.”

But the Farmers Ambassador, Chief Azeez Maboreje, disagreed with Bayari as he lauded the lawmakers for taking the bull by the horn by considering the bill.

Erlier, the speaker of the state Assembly, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, noted that there was need for peaceful coexistence between the farmers and herders, adding that agriculture, crop and animal husbandry remained major parts of the economy in the state.

“There is a need for us to continue to live in peace and harmony, Fulani and the farmers have been living together for a long time ago and nobody ousted his/her boundary or herders grazing their cattle in a way that will destroy farm input,” he said.

Ogundoyin stressed that no government would fold its arms and allow its people to be killed, noting that the present administration in the state was committed to ensuring security of life and property of its citizenry.

“Some parts of the state, particularly Oke-Ogun side, are the most affected. Only in an atmosphere of peace that economic development can take place. So, allhands must be on deck to address issues of insecurity in the state,” he said.

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