Emmanuel assents to anti-open grazing bill in Akwa Ibom

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The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has assented into law a bill that prohibits open grazing of cattle in the state.

The law, however, made provision for the establishment of ranches in the state.

The bill was passed into by the state House of Assembly yesterday (Tuesday).

The anti-open grazing law promotes modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevents the destruction of farms by wandering cattle, and aims to address clashes between herders and farmers in the state.

It also promotes international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among others.

Signing the bill into law on Wednesday in Uyo, Emmanuel vowed to ensure that anyone, irrespective of status, whose livestock strayed into another person’s farm or property, would face the full weight of the new law.

He said it would be unnecessary for anyone found culpable to attempt to use their power or influence, as the law will be fully invoked to ensure that justice is served.

“The law will be used against you, irrespective of who you are. So make sure you create ranches to take care of your livestock.

“It is very painful for a farmer to wake up and discover that his crops that he had toiled for several months have been destroyed by your cattle.

“Just as you are rearing your animals to make profit, the farmer is also aiming for profit and as such you should not come and destroy his own business with yours.

“Once you are caught, such animals would be confiscated and the fine would add to the revenue of the state government, and shall also be used to settle the loss of the farmer,” Emmanuel said.

The signing was witnessed by the deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, wife of the governor, Martha, speaker of the state house of assembly, Mr. Aniekan Bassey, leader of the state legislature, Mr. Udo Kierian Akpan, clerk of the house, Mrs. Mandu Umoren and the attorney general and commissioner for justice, Mr. Uko Udom, among others.

With the signing of the bill into law, Akwa Ibom has now joined Rivers, Bayelsa, Oyo, Ekiti, Abia, Lagos and Enugu as states with anti-open grazing legislation.

It is the eighth state in southern Nigeria to enact the law.

Recall that the southern governors had reached a resolution on July 5, 2021, in Lagos, for member states to enact legislation against open grazing of cattle in their states on or before September 1.

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