By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
A non-governmental organization, the New Nigeria Initiative (NNI), has solicited the support of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, to get their private bill on the prohibition of cattle grazing in the State House of Assembly, passed in record time.
President of the group, Uwadiae Odigie, made the call when the group visited the Acting Permanent Secretary of the state ministry of agriculture and natural resources, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe.
Odigie who called for a ban on open grazing to check the clash between herders and farmers in the state, lamented how the State House of Assembly frustrated a private bill on the prohibition of cattle grazing it submitted to it in 2000.
He noted that the state and the entire country have been gripped by endemic brutality, untold cruelty and awful cycles of events masterminded by criminal herdsmen.
According to him, Nigerians have been left to swim in the mud of hopelessness, societal frustration and palpable suffering.
“NNI had in the wake of these attacks on June 2000, dropped a private bill on the prohibition of cattle grazing in the State House of Assembly.
“But, regrettably, nothing came out of it and the result has been the reign of reckless bloodshed by criminal herdsmen in the state.
“The unabated tragic drama mostly in Edo state spurred us to re-introduced a modified version of the bill we had presented in 2000 to the State House of Assembly.
“We christened it, A bill by NNI for a law to prohibit open cattle grazing in Edo. We have submitted this bill recently to the State House of Assembly,” he said.
Odigie while noting that there is a need for permanent and profound change in our present security situation in the state, further drew the attention of the governor to the resurgence of mischievous activities being perpetrated by the outlawed Community Development Association (CDA) in Ovia north-east local government area of the state.
“We are therefore calling on your excellency to investigate this unwarranted and unwanted scenario to perpetually stop them from spreading to other parts of the state.
Responding, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said the government was concerned about the security situation in the state.
“Before now various communities have lived with herders peacefully but suddenly things changed.
“Government is doing its best to ensure food security in the state. If the cattle continue to destroy farmlands, it will affect food security.
“So, anything that will help nip the problem in the bud, the government will support it. We are very impressed that your group is concerned about this national problem.”
Aikhuomobhogbe further explained that the state government was developing a policy on ranching to solve the incessant herders and farmers clash.
He said “We want to eat meat, but let us do it on a ranch. Let’s encourage ranching in our state.”