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One year after the Ogun state government gave assent to the anti-open grazing law, herders still wrecked havoc in Ogun Communities .
On 30 September , 2021 , Ogun state government signed anti-open grazing bill into law. But, despite the existence of the law, attacks by marauding herders have not abated .
A farmer at Alagada in the Obafemi-Owode local government area of the state, Temilade Adegboyega narrated how he was mercilessly flogged by Fulani herdsmen on his farm in Ogun State.
Adegboyega, who owns a farmland in Alagada area of Abeokuta, the state capital, also narrated how his farmland was destroyed by herders.
The farmer in an interview with PLATFORM TIMES at his residence, expressed his ordeal in the hands of herders, noting that the incessant roaming of cows on his farmland was depriving him his source of livelihood.
Adegboyega narrated: “The Fulani herdsmen are the one frightening us in this community. If you plant cassava, their cow will feed on it. If you challenge them, they’ll threaten to cut you with their dagger. We’ll run for our dear lives.
“I am a farmer and now, I have to buy garri. I plant it myself before the Fulani destroyed part of my farmland. I plant cassava, corn and pepper.If they destroy farmland in an area, we will move to another part of the area.”
The farmer showed the stick he was flogged with to PLATFORM TIMES reporter. He said he was able to take the stick when a scuffle between him and one of the herders broke out in recent time.
“There was a day some Fulani herders flogged me. I was able to collect the stick from one of them before they went away.”
He added, “When I went to report them, their elders said it’s not their children that beat me, that they don’t know those ones.”
The farmer stated that he has been residing in the community since the regime of the (late) Shehu Shagari (1979 – 1983).
PLATFORM TIMES reports that Adegboyega said the herders roam his farm mostly on Sundays when the farmer was in church.
He narrated: “I am a Christian and on Sundays, I don’t visit my farm, they will take their cows to the farm and destroy farmland before I get to the farm after service.”
The farmer said when he once complained to the Fulani leaders in the area, they told him “sorry”.
“We have complained several times. It gets to a time that when they destroy my farmland, they will say sorry to me. Can one go into their ranch and kill a cow and go freely?
“If you complain of their cow destroying your farmland, they will say the cow stray off the path that I should not vex”, the farmer said.
He explained further that reporting the herders had not changed anything, adding that the Ogun State police has been nonchalant to his plight.
In his words: “If we report to the police, they will say we should go and bring the herdsmen in the bush to the police state; that the government didn’t appoint them to protect the bush.”
He added, “On many occasions, I have threatened them with the police but their response shocked me. They will say, nobody can send them away because it’s not only the cows they brought here that they are rearing. Whether they are rearing human beings too, that’s what I don’t understand.”
The farmer however said he has resolved to fighting the herders with prayer and fasting, while urging the government to intervene.
“What I’ve resolved to do is prayer. If one says he depends on charm to face the Fulani, the person is only ready to die. If he says he has a gun, he’s also ready to die.”
He said, “I believe in prayer. For instance, I am fasting this morning and I’ve prayed.
“We are imploring the government to come to our aid. We don’t have power over them”, Adegboyega begged.
… Anti-Open Grazing Bill Passed, Assented To In Ogun
PLATFORM TIMES recalled that Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun signed the Bill to Regulate Animal Grazing and Establishment of Cattle Ranching in Ogun State into law.
The signing was as a result of the incessant attacks on the residents of the state by herdsmen in some parts of the state prompted the governor’s action.
The State House of Assembly had on July 8, 2021, passed the Bill.
He said, “Ogun, has enjoyed peace among various ethnic nationalities until the recent farmer-herder skirmishes.
“Cattle rearers have a six-month period of grace before it becomes illegal in Ogun state for cattle rearers to occupy unapproved public areas and private land with their livestock for grazing.”
The law also prohibits the act of moving cattle around public places by herders.
A committee headed by the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina has been set up to midwife the implementation and enforcement of the new law.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin read that the signing of the anti-open grazing law by the Governor followed the decision of the Southern Governors’ Forum last August, setting the September deadline to pass the law across the Member States.
…Assembly Disagrees With Ogun Gov. Over Six Months Grace
The Ogun State House of Assembly has called for the immediate implementation of the newly-signed anti-open grazing in a sharp contrast to the decision by Abiodun, who said the law would not be implemented until after six months from the day it was assented to.
The lawmakers, taking cognisance of the fact that the dry season was fast approaching, sought the immediate implementation of the State Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Law, 2020 passed a month after .
The Assembly said this became necessary to forestall the recurrence of attacks on human and farmlands, “which often happened in the dry season, especially in the Yewa axis of the State.”
The Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo had directed the Special Adviser on Security to Gov Abiodun, AIG Olusola Subaru (Rtd) and other concerned government officials “to immediately set machinery in motion towards liaising with all security formations in the State for the strict compliance with all sections of the Law.”
Oluomo’s request followed the submission of Adegoke Adeyanju of Yewa North I Constituency, who spoke under Personal Explanation, on the need for government and necessary stakeholders to prepare towards curbing the incessant clashes between herders and farmers that often happened during the dry season.
Adeyanju had noted that with the approach of the dry season, the new law should be implemented to nip incessant clashes between the herders and farmers in the bud, saying this would “save farmers from losing their farmlands to nomadic pastoralists, who always engaged in illegal open grazing on farmlands in my constituency.”
…Four Months After , Five Killed In Farmers/Herders Clash
On January 16, 2022, no fewer than five persons were reportedly killed in a crisis that erupted between farmers and herdsmen in Idofa area of Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of the State.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the herdsmen and some Ohori farmers engaged themselves in a clash at Idofa village, leading to loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira.
It was further learnt that the people of Aworo community in Yewa North Local Government area of the state, had chased the herdsmen from their village to Idofa in Imeko, killing three of them and their cows.
Aworo people were said to have accused the herders of destroying their farms and water sources through open grazing of cows; a practice the Ogun State government had banned, long ago.
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