Awka – Anambra State on Friday joined the comity of southern states that have legislation against open grazing of cattle, as the State Governor Willie Obiano today signed Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law.
The legislation is law to prohibit and abolish open and nomadic cattle and other livestock grazing and rearing in the state.
It among other things, also provides for cattle and other livestock ranching and has a penalty for anybody grazing cattle openly.
Governor Obiano while signing the bill at the governor’s lodge Amawbia, said the move became imperative in order to protect all critical stakeholders and their businesses and improve security and peace, in the state.
He appreciated the state house of Assembly for the expeditious passage of the Bill, saying the establishment of the law will hopefully enable entrenchment of peace, though the state has been managing crisis for a very long time.
“We have been working hard to manage this issues and that is why there haven’t been any major farmers/herders clashes here.
“However, those were only short term measures, but with this law, we have a permanent solution in our hands,” he said.
Governor Obiano, who recalled that a lot of people have suffered serious loss, due to open grazing and the altercations that accompany related clashes, commended the traditional rulers in the state for also helping to stem the tide.
The governor directed relevant authorities of government including security agencies to ensure the law is enforced in the state, adding culprits must be brought to book.
“We will not mind whose ox is gored and that is why we are asking for full compliance with the provisions of this law, because the new law is a no respecter of persons, irrespective of status,” he warned.
The speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Right Hon. Uche Okafor said the state legislature had passed the bill in September, following a public hearing and the demand by Ndi Anambra for urgent action on the matter.
Commending governor Obiano for signing the Bill into law, Okafor explained that the Bill is for unity, security and peaceful coexistence among residents of the state, and not targeted at any group or individual.
Presenting the bill for the governor’s accent, the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs Uju Nwogu said the essence of the bill is to help establish ranches as well as prevent clashes between farmers and herders.
According to her, this is because open grazing has many disadvantages and has been the major cause of farmers/herders clashes in the state.
“The present administration had established the cattle menace committee long before now, but this law will help us to prevent clashes between farmers and herders, encourage the establishment of ranches, assist in the prevention of diseases and enhance the production of crop and livestock as well as complement the existing peace in the governance of Anambra state,” she said.
The Sariki Hausa of Onitsha Alhaji iliyasu Yushau who described the law as a dream come through for all involved, assured that they would abide by it.
Present at the brief ceremony were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Uju Nworgu, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Commissioner for Police, Mr. Echeng Echeng, Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Nnamdi Onkwuba, Chairman of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Traditional Ruler of Okpuno, Igwe Sunday Okafor, Traditional Ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu, Member representing Awka North at the State House of Assembly, House Committee Chairman on Agriculture, Chief John Nwokoye, Members of the Hausa Community in the state, among others.