The incessant killing by the Fulani Herdsmen in Edo State led to the state government’s decision to put a ban on night grazing, a move the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party described as a license to cattle colony.
The State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih faulted Obaseki’s night grazing ban, describing it as “mere political statement.”
In a new development on Tuesday, the PDP sponsored a bill to the State House of Assembly to “Prohibit open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock Administration, Regulation and Control and for other Matters connected therewith”
Dan Orbih said the bill was necessary to checkmate the excesses of the Fulani herdsmen who had done nothing but to destroy, kill, maim farmers in the state, and Governor Godwin Obaseki‘s night ban which he said has no force of law.
The party Chairman added that the governor’s action revealed that he was oblivious of events in the state.
Orbih said Obaseki would have sponsored an anti-grazing bill if he was serious about stopping the atrocities being committed by the herders.
He said the bill which was sent to lawmakers on Monday proposed Cattle Ranches as it in civilised countries instead of cattle Colony.
He also revealed that the bill would prevent the destruction of farms and crops by herdsmen and their cattle, and legal backing to herdsmen who would register their business to operate according to the law.
This, according to him, would help in preventing regular clashes between farmers and herders and stop the destruction of crops, plus protect the environment from degradation and pollution caused by open grazing.
But the Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy to the governor, Crusoe Osagie, described the bill as premature.
Crusoe, though commended the PDP for “heeding the counsel of the Edo government to learn how to be a responsible opposition party that can contribute to the development of the state through well-researched policies and laws”, said that the PDP need more schooling to “fully appreciate that the well-researched policies of the Obaseki-led government such as the ban on overnight grazing, armed herdsmen and the monitoring of their activities cannot be changed when they are yielding positive results.”
The aide said that PDP had over the years displayed incapacity to solve problems relating to the state, adding that the party has nothing to offer.
Why PDP Blindsided Obaseki on the Anti-Grazing Bill
Speaking with NAIJA CENTER NEWS on Tuesday, the State Publicity Secretary Mr. Chris Nehikhare explained how the bill was delivered to the EDHA.
Nehikhare said that the DHL was contracted to deliver the bill to different lawmakers’ office at the same time, making sure their signatures or that of their clerks were received.
He explained that the rigorous delivery was necessary to avoid blockade of the bill by lawmakers loyal to the State governor.
He said “We had to keep it secret because we knew the House of Assembly may not entertain it. We visited other states with the same law, looked at it and domesticated it ourselves. After preparing the bill, we got a courier company to deliver it to the house of assembly members, individually.
“The couriers went to their individual lawmakers and their clerks signed for it. We have copies of all their signatures signing to receive it. I am sure they were all receiving possibly at the same time.
“After we were sure they had received it, we went ahead to announce it to the public. It is only the state government that has reacted through the governor’s aide Crusoe. We did not write to them, we did not consult them, we did not write to the executive but to the House of Assembly. It is not their business, let the House of Assembly look at the bill and decide whether to read it or not.
“Edo State government has no business in the bill we sent to the House of Assembly. I am sure the state government has not even read it. Crusoe and his government are just meddlesome right now. Within the minutes we announced it, they are already saying it is premature. They have just discarded it the way they discarded the herdsmen attack by saying they are banning night time grazing when we all know farmers don’t go to the farm at night, they farm during the day.
“When you say you ban, you cannot take anyone to court. There is no law on backing the Governor’s ban. So, for the interest of Edo people, we want them to consider the bill. “