The Oyo State House of Assembly on Wednesday at plenary passed the Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Bill 2019 through second reading.
Concise News reports that the move to ban open rearing, herding and grazing of livestock outside permitted ranches in the state.
The bill is jointly sponsored by the Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin; the Deputy Speaker, Abiodun Fadeyi; Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin and the Minority Leader, Asimiyu Alarape.
If passed into law, anyone who engages in open rearing or grazing of livestock is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years or a fine of N200,000 or both.
Specifically, the bill prohibits the movement of livestock on foot from one destination to another in the state, with all herdsmen mandated to submit themselves for registration and get an identification card, which must be worn at all times.
Also, the bill states that cattle movement is only permissible by rail wagon, truck or pick-up wagon, while any person found moving livestock on foot is liable on conviction to imprisonment for one year or a fine of N50,000 or both.
The penalty for any herdsman who fails to register is imprisonment for two years or a fine of N100,000 or both, while anyone without identification card is liable on conviction to imprisonment for six months or a fine of N50,000 or both.
A minor is prohibited from grazing, rearing or herding of livestock except under the supervision of an adult, while anyone found guilty of possession of offensive weapon within or outside the ranch, is liable on conviction to imprisonment for one year or fine of N100,000 or both.
If the bill is passed into law, any herdsman wishing to set up ranches or anyone intending to graze livestock on ranches is expected to pay a permit fee with the permit, renewable after one year, subject to the governor’s approval.
Such herdsman is expected to apply for one year lease of land from the owner, and get the consent of the ministry of environment which will carry out an environmental impact assessment before issuance of the permit.
The Speaker, while commenting on the bill, said it would make it an offence for anyone to engage in open rearing, herding and grazing of livestock in the state outside the permitted ranches and also provide opportunities for private investors who may want to have their own ranches in the state.
Alarape representing Atiba constituency and Hakeem Adedibu (Iwajowa constituency) noted that the movement of livestock around the state posed a great risk to farmers in rural communities.
Jacob Bamigboye (Oriire constituency) and Olawumi Oladeji (Ogbomoso North constituency) called for speedy passage of the bill in order to curtail the rising cases of farmers-herders clashes, particularly in the agrarian communities in the state.
To ensure the implementation of the bill, an open grazing prohibition task force comprising representatives of the state government, security agencies, farmers’ association, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, vigilantes and the judiciary would be constituted.
While passing the bill to the Committees on Agriculture and Security for further deliberations and scrutiny, the Assembly also resolved to conduct a public hearing on the bill.