The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has urged residents to assist in ridding the city of open grazing by reporting violators via telephone calls.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Board Janet Peni made the call in an interview with The ICIR on Friday, June 30.
“We are going to follow them up more than before. Once we get the cows, our FCT mobile court will pass judgment immediately; we’ll confiscate them, depending on whatever judgement they give us. We have our customer lines. Residents can report on our SERVICOM number: 09019823895,” she said.
This development comes a week after the AEPB Director Osilama Braimah said grazing animals on Abuja roads would no longer be tolerated.
“These are clearly illegal acts, and we cannot, and we will not have animals crisscrossing the expressways, and we will not certainly allow people to keep animals on their properties because they also carry diseases that are passed to humans.
“So apart from constituting physical environmental nuisance, they also constitute public health hazards, this is precisely why we have city planning, for you to keep your animals in certain areas, and live in certain areas. No conflict about this,” Braimah said.
Although open grazing along Abuja roads was banned in 2016 by Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muhammadu Musa Bello, herders leading cows through streets and major roads in the city has remained a common sight.
In a 2021 report by The ICIR, Abuja residents expressed concerns over the nuisance caused by cattle along major highways and the threat to life associated with open grazing in Nigeria.
Peni told The ICIR in 2021 that the Board was making efforts to curb open grazing within the city through activities of its Monitoring and Enforcement Department.
Following Braimah’s recent declaration, The ICIR reached out to the AEPB to ascertain if new methods are being deployed to rid the city of the menace.
According to Peni, no new measures were being explored to address the issue. However, she said the Board was more determined to rid the city of open grazing this time than it was in the past.
“We have been enforcing it, but this time around, we are not relaxing. We will make sure that we follow them up; we don’t give them breathing space. Today, our enforcement team were out to see how they can regulate them.
“We do not intend to soft-pedal, we are going to follow them more than before. Once we get the cows, our FCT mobile court will pass judgement immediately; we’ll confiscate them, depending on whatever judgement they give us. We have our customer lines. Residents can us on our servicom number: 09019823895,” she said.
Open grazing has been responsible for conflicts between host communities and herders across the country, resulting in displacement of residents, banditry and deaths.