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Anti-open grazing bill not to witchhunt Fulani herdsmen – Oyo Assembly

OYO, Nigeria – The Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday declared that the anti-open grazing bill, which is currently at the House of Assembly waiting to be passed, is not in anyway to witchhunt the Fulani herdsmen or cattle rearers in the state.

Our correspondent gathered that the bill entitled, “Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Bill 2019”, which has passed through second reading at the House of Assembly, was jointly sponsored by the Speaker of the Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, the deputy Speaker, Abiodun Fadeyi, Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin and the minority Leader, Asimiyu Alarape.

The bill, when becomes law, would prohibit open grazing in the state.

The House had two weeks ago, organized a public hearing for stakeholders to bear their minds and make suggestions to proposed bill. During the public hearing, farmers and some Fulani’s in the state disagreed over the proposed anti-grazing bill.

While the Farmers’ Ambassador, Chief Azeez Maboreje in his address, lauded the lawmakers for taking the bull by the horn for considering the bill, National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari in an 18-page position paper, said the bill if passed into law would punish poor herders, saying, “it is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman to go into ranching.”

But, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Abiodun Fadeyi while reacting, insisted that the proposed law is not in any way to punish or witchhunt Fulani herdsmen in the state.

Fadeyi, who spoke at a town hall meeting organized in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), for the people of Ona-Ara State constituency where he represents, noted that the open rearing and grazing regulation bill 2019 is not in anyway targeted at any group or set of people.

At the town hall meeting were NOA Director in the state, Dolapo Dosumu, former member of the State House of Assembly, Taiwo Ibrahim, former Chairman, Ona Ara Local Government Area, Taiwo Oke, traditional rulers, youths and religious leaders.

Fadeyi, while addressing journalists, said that the proposed bill was aimed at generating more revenue for the state and not to witchhunt anyone.

He said, “We have passed many bills since we came in the last four months. Numerous bills. When this administration came into government, we enacted some of the bills to establish some of the ministries.

“And the one that is germane is the anti-grazing, open rearing bill and the anti-corruption bills. The anti-open grazing bill is not only a discourse in the state alone, it is throughout the country. It is the bill that will help us in terms of generating revenue for the state.

“We are talking about the anti-open grazing bill now that will help us in terms of the internally generated revenue (IGR), that will encourage private ownership of ranches and what a few and to control or to curtail the movement of the herders from one place to the other indiscriminately.

“So these are some of the things the bill will be able to do and not to witchhunt the herders or anyone.”

Fadeyi maintained that some of the motions he had presented and passed for consideration were on security, persistent flooding incidents and curbing students from roaming the streets during school hours.

He also promised to press the executive to locate one of the faculties of the Oyo state Technical University in Ona Ara, present a motion before the Assembly to decentralise fire service stations and look into some of other issues raised by his constituents during the town Hall meeting.

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