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Violators risk 21 years in jail as Lagos moves to ban open grazing

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VIOLATORS could spend 21 years in jail if the Lagos State anti-open grazing bill is passed into law by the state’s house of assembly.

The bill, which was prepared by the executive arm of the government of the state, was read by lawmakers at plenary on Monday.

The lawmakers, who condemned the incessant moving of cattle by herders openly through farmlands and roads in the state, noted that trespassing on people’s land would continue to threaten the peaceful coexistence in the country.

The lawmakers bemoaned the damage caused by herders due to open grazing in the state and other parts of the country.

According to them, the bill would help promote peaceful coexistence between herders and farmers, and also reduce crimes in the state.

Speaker of the House Mudashiru Obasa said the lawmakers werr taking the path of legalising the southern governors’ agreement on open grazing.

He said that there was a need to identify herders operating in the state by registering them so as to know their total number.

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The Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), in response to the growing insecurity caused by herders in their various states, agreed after a meeting in Lagos to outlaw open grazing in the region by September 1.

The Lagos meeting is a follow-up to earlier talks held on May 11, where the governors had unanimously resolved to ban open grazing in the southern part of the country.

Ten states, including Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Abia have all met the September 1st deadline.

Delta, Lagos and Akwa Ibom all have their bills yet to be debated by their respective houses of assemblies, while Edo, Anambra and Imo have not indicated any interest in introducing the bill.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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