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Saturday, July 31, 2021

ODHA Anti- Grazing Bill

THE preservation of human lives is the primary function of any government. Therefore, every effort aimed at achieving this goal is not only laudable but also qualified for supports from all segments of the society. Added to this is the need to ensure the safety of the nation’s food basket, which would also culminate in the preservation of the lives of the people.
THEREFORE, THE HOPE sees the Anti-grazing law passed by the Ondo State House of Assembly as a right step in the right direction. The passage of the Bill gives a legal backing, and force of law on government’s insistence on the eradication of the outdated practice of roaming animal husbandry.
SECTION 18 of the Bill prohibits grazing of livestock on undesignated lands, and restricts the grazing and movement of livestock to the hours of 7:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the evening, thus prohibiting night movement of livestock. This would therefore prevent the unwanted presence of destructive livestock on farmland at odd hours as well as check the activities of rustlers and other livestock thieves from carrying out their nefarious activities in the dead of the night. THE HOPE also applauds the provisions of Section 19 of the Bill, which deliberately ensures the security of children and the enforcement of the 2007 Child Rights Law of Ondo State.
WHILE we are of the opinion that the penalties attached to the infringement of this law seem too lenient as to deter offenders, we see the passage of the Bill as the beginning of better things to come, and hope that it would undergo reforms as the implementation begins earnestly.
THIS force of law is expected to curb the brazen defiance of herdsmen to government’s earlier directives on the matter. Therefore, it is expected that government would follow up this new law with the enlistment of more and specialized personnel to ensure the adherence of recalcitrant livestock owners in the State. To this end, we also reiterate the need to empower relevant authorities to implement this new law.
THE law establishing Amotekun in the state therefore needs to be revisited, revised, and enlarged to resist armed husbandmen who would seek to kill than to obey simple laws. We therefore propose that the Amotekun must be able to bear arms and ammunition to deter the operations of blood and life seeking bandits who disguise as herdsmen in our various bushes and farmlands.
THE HOPE however wishes to emphasize that the passed bill by the Ondo Assembly is not certain groups or tribes. Rather, it encompasses and is applicable to all those in the livestock rearing and production business. Therefore, locals, who are in the habit of letting loose their goats, chickens and other livestock to prey on people’s farmlands, gardens and business centers should also engage in caging their animals in order to avoid the full wrath of the law.
THE State Government could however assist those willing to comply with this law with the provision of lands, incentives, and agricultural extension services that would enhance the intensive care of livestock in designated and acceptable areas within the state.
NOW, THE HOPE finds it necessary to enlighten the public that the seemingly existing grazing routes are by law under the purview, discretion, and control of the state. Hence, it is advisable to all livestock farmers to abide by state laws in order to have a productive livestock production system. The passed bill is in tandem with the global best practices of healthy and profitable livestock production in the twenty first century; conflict prevention and a panacea to dwindling food baskets in major parts of the country. It is expected that the safety of human and animals’ lives would be guaranteed when this bill is enforced in Ondo State, and possibly other parts of the country.
GIVEN that education is the basic tool for seamless enforcements of changes in the society, the Government, especially through the Local Government Councils should engage both electronic and traditional methods of communication to educate the people about the provisions, purpose, prohibitions, privileges, and punishments inherent in this new bill. It is expected that traditional rulers would also interact with their subjects at the grassroots in order to forestall the ignorant actions and inactions that may contravene the law.

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