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The public outcry that characterized the anti-open grazing Bill at the Oyo State House of Assembly took another dimension on Wednesday when herdsmen in the state vowed to drag the state House of Assembly to court over the Bill.
The herdsmen made this declaration when hundreds of them from various parts of the state converged on Igangan, an agrarian community in Ibarapa North Local Government Area, where they met for several hours and resolved to use legal option to stop state House of Assembly from going further to enact the proposed law.
It was 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.
But, the Fulani herdsmen at the meeting held on Wednesday, presided over by the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abduk-Kadir described the Bill as “too draconian” and targeted at crippling herdsmen from practising their age-long cattle rearing activities across the state.
They threatened to sue the Assembly if it does not step the bill down.
“We will go to court. We will seek legal redress if Oyo State Government insists on imposing this Bill on us.
“The implementation of the Bill as it is will cause commotion.
“It is simply this issue that threw up IDP Camps in Benue. And we don’t want all this to happen here in Oyo State where we have been living peacefully with our fellow farmers for ages.
“However, if we are pushed to the wall, we know the next level. Our next level is to seek the legal option. We will go to the court of law over the matter. But for now, we are begging Oyo State Government to see us as Nigerians and partners in progress who, for ages immemorial, have added values to the economy of the State.
“It is also a matter of fact that we Fulani dominate large percentage of voters in Oyo State. The government only recognizes us during electioneering and voting periods. Government is not giving us any facility or loan to boost our cattle rearing business while the farmers, on the other hand, get agric loans, fertilizers, etc. Is this the only way Government is now repaying us for our patriotism?
“We are equally opposed to ranching which is capital intensive. Why not ask the farmers also to fence their farm holdings? How much are we going to be spending per caged cow per annum in form of feeding, etc.?
“We do not agree. Government should rather checkmate the inflow of foreign herdsmen who have been responsible for the security challenges in the land.”
Ojebola Matthew Opeoluwa, Special Assistant, New Media to the Speaker in a short message while reacting to the court threat, said that the house will soon release its position on the herdsmen threat.