EDOCSO Issues Press Statement on Bill to Prohibit Open Grazing
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE BILL FOR A LAW TO PROHIBIT OPEN GRAZING OF CATTLE AND OTHER LIVESTOCK AND PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION AND REGULATION OF RANCHES IN EDO STATE 2021 AND FOR CONNECTED PURPOSES BY EDO CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS WHICH WAS DELIVERED BY BISHOP OSADOLOR OCHEI, THE INTERIM TEC CHAIRMAN ON THE 13TH OF NOVEMBER, 2021.
Gentlemen of the press, stakeholders, members of Edo Civil Society Organisations and everyone present in today’s press briefing are duly acknowledged.
We the above named coalition of civil rights groups in Edo state with a huge membership strength within Nigeria and in the Diaspora, having our structures in the 18 local government councils of the state have deemed it necessary to lend our voice to the drafted bill on subject matter.
First, we want to commend Edo state government for hearkening to the voice of the people to see the need to put in place a law that will regulate cattle and its attendant consequences. However, a cursory look at the drafted bill raised certain questions that call for concerns and consideration.
We shall be particular about sections 3(a) and 9 which states thus:
*“Create designated ranching areas for the rearing and grazing of cattle and other livestock in Edo State”*
*“The Governor shall on the recommendations of the Committee by a notice in the Gazette, designate Land in any Local Government Area to be used for ranching”*
As stated in our position paper in the Town Hall meeting held on the 11th of October, 2021. We raised serious objection to creating a colony for ranching in Edo state owing to the future consequences it would have on our children’s children as it touches on claims of territory by professional pastoralists.
The reason for our fear is not far-fetched owing to precedents from Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states experience with similar arrangement years back. The aftermath effects have resorted to conflicts, bloodsheds and insecurity.
We want to reemphasized that, the idea of creating designated ranching areas by government should be jettisoned while individuals should be allowed to source for lands for personal business ventures and getting the appropriate permits from the government. We have stated before now that cattle ranching is a private venture like every other agricultural venture and should remain so save for government regulations. Establishing a colony of ranches amounts to creating another community inside a community.
We are calling on the speaker of Edo State House of Assembly to call for public hearing in order to harvest inputs from all concerned before the passage of the bill into law. This is to ensure transparency and engendering true democratic process.
It is our utmost belief that this recommendation is treated with the expected reasoning that comes with it.
I want to thank you all for taking out your valuable time to be part of this press briefing today.
God bless us all, God bless Edo state and God bless Nigeria.
Bishop Dr. Osadolor Ochei (JP)
Interim TEC Chairman