New law criminalises open cattle grazing in Lagos

…Sanwo-Olu tasks security agencies on full enforcement

It is now a criminal offence to openly graze cattle in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub and arguably, most populous city.

This follows the signing into law of the bill prohibiting Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The bill was passed 11 days ago by the 40-member Lagos State House of Assembly and transmitted to the executive arm for authorisation. The new legislation makes it unlawful for cattle rearers to occupy unapproved public areas and private land with their livestock for grazing. It also prohibits the act of moving cattle around public places by herders.

The signing of anti-open grazing bill law by Sanwo-Olu is in line with the decision of the Southern Governors’ Forum, in August, which set September deadline to outlaw open grazing in Nigeria’s Southern region, comprising 17 states. A number of states in the region have also enacted the anti-open grazing law.

There have been crises and loss of lives in some states of the federation arising from farmers-herders’ clashes. Although such clashes are not pronounced in Lagos, it is expected that the new law would prevent spillover from other states into Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, who signed the bill during the state’s executive council meeting in Alausa, directed security agencies in the state to ensure the full enforcement of the provisions of the law.

“By the powers vested in me as the governor of Lagos State, I am signing the bill on Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land into law to prohibit issues associated with open grazing of livestock.”

Read Also: Sanwo-Olu signs anti-open grazing bill into law

The governor also signed another legislation transforming the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) into an agency.

The development coincided with the commemorative month dedicated to raising awareness on gender-based violence in the state. The governor and members of the state’s cabinet wore attire with purple shades to support the campaign against sexual violence.

The DSVRT legislation provides for the establishment of Sexual Offenders’ Register that would help the state efficiently tackle violations in the communities.

In signing the law, Sanwo-Olu said “raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence is an important piece of working to end the cycle of violence. It is important to reiterate the state government’s zero-tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. We will not rest on our oars until the menace is reduced to the barest minimum in Lagos.”

The governor appointed Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi as the executive secretary of the new agency. Vivour-Adeniyi was the coordinator of the response team before the legislation was signed into law.

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