The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has said he may not enact the anti-open grazing law in the state.
“We are one of the few states that have not signed the bill into law, and the reason is simple. To sign a law is very simple, but it doesn’t make sense, to put out a law you cannot enforce.
The Edo governor, on Monday, while speaker at a town hall meeting, involving all stakeholders in the state’s capital, Benin, said there is no need passing the law because, to him, it may not be fully enforced and implemented.
Obaseki, is of the opinion that, instead of rushing to pass the anti-open grazing law, it is important to, first address the root cause of the problems between herders, and their host communities.
“The best way of enforcing a law is to bring everybody together to be part of that law. We have a crisis in our country, it is deeply rooted, there are different causes why these are happening, let us go to the root of the causes, and resolve it from there.
He emphasized that, since Nigerians have been living peaceable together before now even with cattle grazing, why the problem now?
“People have said that we have lived a hundred years together in harmony before now, why are we now having this problem today?
“The anti-grazing law in my view is to deal with some perception…
“If we don’t go to the reason why, then we will be scratching the surface. Let us start by understanding why we are having this challenge.
The Edo state governor, who affirmed that, the problem of open cattle grazing goes beyond religion or ethnicity, also said, he believes in dialogue to solving the problem rather than passing the law in the state.
“I just want to tell you that, this is not an issue between Christians and Muslims, it is not an issue between north and south, it is not an issue between Edo people and Fulani people.
“As long as we have decided that we will eat meat, and drink milk, we will now have to sit down, and rearrange the business, on how we will get the people who are producing the meat, on how they must organise themselves.
He urged his fellow governors, not to ‘play politics’ in dealing with the issue, but that they should be transparent in handling the situation because some criminal elements have permeated the real cattle dealers; who believed are the ones causing problems.
“Let us not play politics with this issue, let us deal with this issue honestly and openly. There are security implications, because some people have now joined, and using these herders to perpetrate insecurity.”
Governor Obaseki is therefore, insisting that, cattle herders in Edo state, who are carrying out their businesses legitimately and peaceably, should be given the opportunity to operate in the state; but that the criminally minded ones should be identified.
Recall that, southern states governors, at the meeting held in May 2021, in Delta state capital, Asaba, unanimously agreed to ban open cattle grazing; and at a subsequent meeting, held in June in Lagos state, the governors set September 1st, 2021, as the deadline for the announcement of the law.
While some of the state governors have passed the anti-open grazing law, governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, is still weighing the pros and cons.