Why Edo is yet to sign anti-open grazing law- Obaseki
The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Monday said the delay in the signing of the anti-open grazing law is to ensure the crafting of an implementable law that will put an end to the growing insecurity and economic challenges in the state.
Obaseki made this known in Benin City at a stakeholders’ town hall meeting on a proposed Anti-Open Grazing Law for Edo State.
The governor explained that 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. Let us go to the root of the causes and resolve it from there. People have said that we have lived a hundred years together in harmony before now. Why are we having these problems today?
“We are one of the few states that are yet to sign the anti-open grazing law, and the reason is simple; it doesn’t make sense to put out a law you cannot enforce.
“If we don’t go to the reason, then we will be scratching the surface. Let us start by understanding why we are having this challenge. The anti-grazing law, in my view, is to deal with some perceptions. I want to tell you that this is not an issue between Christians and Muslims; it is not an issue between North and South, and it is not an issue between Edo and Fulani people.
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“As long as we have decided that we will eat meat and drink milk, we will have to sit down and rearrange the business, engaging the people who are producing these foods on how they must organize themselves,” Obaseki said.
He also engaged traditional rulers, youth groups, religious bodies, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), among others to review the government’s strategies at improving security and stemming the herders-farmers crisis in the state.
“Let us not play politics with this issue; let us deal with it honestly and openly. There are security implications because some people have now joined and are using these herders to perpetuate insecurity.
“My worry is that if we don’t separate them so that we can know those people who are using cattle herding to perpetrate crime and insecurity in our state, we will be missing the point.
“There are people who are doing their legitimate business of herding cattle and producing meat, and there are criminals who want to destabilise our country and state,” he added.
Also speaking, Oriakhi Davies, a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Edo State chapter, suggested ranching as an alternative for open grazing, noting that cattle rearing is a private business and anybody interested in the business should acquire land for such business.
Saad Ahmed, chairman of, Cattle Dealers Association, Edo State, on his part, said about 45 percent of cows consumed in Benin comes directly from the North.
Ahmed appealed to the governor to treat everybody equally, irrespective of their religion and beliefs, saying that God has blessed Edo and his people have been living in the state without any trouble.