A group of farmers and herdsmen on Wednesday engaged in a disagreement over the proposed anti-grazing bill by Oyo state House of Assembly.
Both groups had attended the public hearing on a bill for a law to prohibit open grazing in the state at the state House of Assembly.
The Farmers’ leader, Chief Azeez Maboreje in his contribution, commended the lawmakers for having such an initiative to put an end to reoccurring clash between the two groups.
But, the National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari in an 18-page position paper he delivered at the session, countered the bill.
Maboreje on his part, had tipped the Assembly “To go ahead and prohibit open grazing to safeguard farming practice and investments of the people, in a way that those engaging in open grazing be made to face the wrath of the law.”
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He also implored the House “To amend a section of the bill to include provision for special courts and mobile courts to try erring herdsmen.”
Going further, he requested the lawmakers to create Baale Agbe-In-Council at each local government, for them to contribute meaningfully to the agricultural development, and engage in harmonious relationship with the Fulani and others herders.
Meanwhile, Bayari on the contrary, said the bill would punish the poor herders in Oyo State.
“it is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman to go into ranching” Bayari said.
He also lamented that the sponsors of the bill did not consider the nature of the Fulani herdsman and his cattle rearing culture, tradition and hereditary attachment to his means of livelihood and not ‘business’ as people believe.
He, however, raised questions on why the bill failed to consider small farmers unlike commercial merchandise livestock farmers like 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 also, asked rhetorically how a herdsman that owns 50 cows or less, can afford to lease a plot of ranch to keep and graze, buy feeds for these animals, saying “the maximum average total value of of 50 cows at N150, 000 each is N7.5 million only.
“From our calculations, one cow will eat grass, drink water, drugs and other maintenance costs to the tune of N1, 500 a day.”
He expressed concern that Fulani men were always at the receiving end when peace was breach in any community as their entire means of the livelihood, the animals, would perishable.
Bayari also maintained that “Despite Benue state being a northern state, it has been a very bad brother and neighbor of the Fulani herdsmen. Ironically, it is Oyo state among Yoruba states that has remained our true home.
“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.”
The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Peter Ojedokun pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was to receive input from the stakeholders on a “Bill for a Law to Prohibit Open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock and Provide for the Regulation of activities of Herdsmen and for connected purpose.”
He said the bill would curtail the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
This Bill is a private Members Bill, jointly sponsored by the Rt Honorable Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the House.
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