Friday, 3 December 2021

Ayade Vows Not to Sign Anti-Open Grazing Bill into Law, Say I Can't Close My Brothers Legitimate Businesses

Despite the position of the Southern Governors Forum resisting and refusing open grazing due to incessant farmers herders clash that has lost lots of lives and properties, governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has said he is not ready to sign any bill that will close the legitimate business of herders in Cross River State. TDN can authoritatively report. 

Speaking in an event yesterday, 2nd of December, in his office in Calabar, the Governor informed that he wouldn't be a party to any law that seeks to refrain his herdsmen brothers from carrying out the legitimate business that began even before he was born. 

"Even though Southern Governors have made it clear that all Southern Governors must pass the Anti-open Grazing Law, Cross River has not, I have not because I have to find a solution, I cannot ask my Herdsmen brothers whether of Northern or Southern parts of the country to shut down their trade and stay confined whether they have a pasture or not." Ayade insisted. 

He further explained that, if the activities of herders are causing problems, then leaders should seek solutions and not destroy the business of herders, stating that the Cross River State House of Assembly is rather working on Open-Grazing Management Bill. Noting that the management law is not a prohibition and that he thinks that it isn't morally and ethically acceptable to prohibit a business that has been functioning before he was born.

"If indeed open-grazing is coming with severe consequences, we should come together and look for a solution, we must find a way to create a balance between the herders and the farmers and that's the essence of being a leader." He said. 

It could be recalled that Southern Governors had unanimously called for the ban of open grazing in the South with a timeline for laws backing their decisions to be enacted in the various states. In some states, the law have already been enacted and signed while other states have their bills at different stages before the Houses of Assembly. 

Despite the September 1st deadline given by the Southern Governors Forum for Southern states to enact laws prohibiting open grazing in the region, as at September 26 2021, about 5 out of the 17 Southern states in Nigeria were yet to enact the law.

Note that before the resolution of the governors, the anti-open grazing law was already operational in Ekiti, Ebonyi, Abia, Oyo, and Bayelsa states already had the laws operational before the forum's resolution while Rivers and Ondo states joined the others in prohibiting open grazing on August 19 and 31 respectively and Enugu, Akwa-Ibom, Osun and Lagos later enacted the law after the deadline.

As at 22nd of September, Anambra and Delta states had passed the bill into law awaiting the governor's ascent while Edo, Cross River and Imo states are somewhat reluctant about enacting the law.

Reports has it that there's already an existing anti-grazing bill in Cross River State since 2017 which the governor, has reportedly refused to sign

Also some few months ago, in his efforts to find a permanent solution to the frequent herder-farmer clashes, governor Ayade had introduced the king grass which he said is a special pasture "that grows more than two meters within 45 days of planting and once it is cut, it regenerates even faster. So, within a small landmass you can keep your cattle and grow this special grass and feed them."

While explaining that herders have a right to the source of their livelihood, so they move from place to place in search of pasture for their cattle, thus putting them against farmers who also have the right to protect their crops therefore, to put an end to this intractable conflict between these two groups, he has sought partnership with a team of experts from Cambodia and they are here with a special grass specie called king grass.

Do you agree with the Governor, that signing the anti grazing bill into law will deprived herders of their legitimate business? 

Or you feel the Governor should rather think of the safety of Cross Riverians whose lives and properties he swore to protect? 

Let's have your thoughts at the comment section. 

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