THE Southern Governors Forum (SGF)’s deadline is due and out of the 17 member states, only seven have completed the process of banning open grazing of cattle in their domains.
When the southern governors met on July 5, part of their agreement was that by Wednesday, September 1, the anti-open grazing law would have taken effect in all member states.
The ban is in place in seven states: Ebonyi, Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo states.
It is still in the legislative process in four states: Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Lagos states.
In Cross River, Osun and Ogun states, the law already exists or has been passed by the state assembly but awaiting their governors’ assent.
However, in Anambra, Imo and Edo states, nothing seems to be happening regarding the anti-open grazing bill.
For Ebonyi, Abia, Oyo and Ekiti states, the ban had already been existing in their states before the southern governors’ resolution.
For Bayelsa State, the ban was in effect on March 10, 2021, and for Rivers, the ban came into being on August 19, 2021.
Ondo State joined the list on August 31, 2021, becoming the seventh state to effect the ban.
For Enugu and Delta states, the anti-grazing bill is still in the second reading stage at the houses of assembly.
In Lagos State, the bill is also in the state house of assembly, but the progress is yet to be known.
In Cross River, it was agreed that the state would pass the anti-open grazing law back in 2017, but it was reported that the sitting Governor Ben Ayade refused to assent to it.
In Osun State, the bill has been passed by the house of assembly, but it is yet to be assented to by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
In Ogun State, the anti-open grazing bill has been passed but it is still awaiting Governor Dapo Abiodun’s assent.
In Imo State, the government said a bill controlling open-grazing in some areas was previously signed in the state, back in 2006.
The said legislation was signed by Gov. Achike Udenwa. However, a lawmaker in the state said there were “flaws in the law (which) will be amended by the current assembly.”
After granting a speech with the press, which he later claimed was misunderstood, the current Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma said that a ban was not necessary since herders and farmers in Imo were, according to him, “peacefully coexisting in the state as a result of mutual respect and understanding.”
In Anambra State, the government reportedly said it had set up a task force that would ensure compensation was paid to the aggrieved -either herders or farmers- in conflict situations.
In Edo State, the house of Assembly is yet to receive a bill on open grazing ban, even though Governor Godwin Obaseki had earlier decried the attacks that ensued in the state involving herders.