Benue State Enacts Anti-Open Grazing Bill to End Fulani Violence

ICC Note

Benue State in Nigeria has passed and implemented an Anti-Open Grazing bill. This bill is a direct response to the Fulani-farmer conflict. It is an attempt to stop Fulani from grazing into other community’s property and causing conflict. This bill, which was passed in May, was given a 5 month delay so that the herders and ranchers could prepare. We pray that this bill is a reasonable solution to ending the violence that has plagued this state and others. We also hope that if it works, that other states follow Benue’s example.

 

2017-11-03 Nigeria (Daily Post) On Monday, May 22 this year, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom made history when he signed the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017.

The enactment of the law has continued to receive applause from many Nigerians who describe it as the best solution to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state.

Before the enactment of the law, economic activities particularly farming were badly affected in parts of Benue State as the people lived in constant fear of attacks from gun bearing herdsmen who invaded communities, killed and destroyed property worth billions of naira. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes as a result of the crisis.

Efforts to find a permanent solution to the herders-farmers crisis were not yielding the desired results.

This was why the passage of the anti-open grazing bill by the Benue State House of Assembly later signed by Governor Ortom was received with joy and relief by the people.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigerian, MACBAN also described the law as the best step towards lasting peace.

The State House of Assembly passed the anti-open grazing bill following public hearings it conducted in the three senatorial zones of the state which drew participants from all walks of life including herdsmen.

The anti-open grazing law specifically permits grazing of livestock only within ranches and prohibits the movement of animals from one destination to another in the State except by rail, trucks and other vehicles.

It spells out punishment for offenders ranging from imprisonment to payment of fines on conviction by a law court.

Interestingly, the law also protects livestock and ranches as it stipulates severe punishment for any person convicted for rustling cattle or any other animals kept in ranches.

 

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