Ekiti state governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, on Monday signed the “Anti Grazing Bill 2016” recently passed by the House of Assembly. The bill was sponsored by the executive after the killing of two persons by suspected herdsmen in Oke Ako community in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
The new law criminalises grazing in some places and certain time limit in the state. Signing the bill, Fayose said that the new law would check cases of incessant attacks or killings of local residents and destruction of farmlands by herdsmen and their cattle.
He said that the law would also strengthen security in various communities across the state, adding that anyone that fouled the law stood the risk of being treated as terrorist. “With the signing into law of this bill today, anyone caught grazing with arms or any weapon in Ekiti would now be charged with terrorism and be made to face the law according to certain sections of it.
“The same goes for those who graze in prohibited areas or go against the time frame of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. allowed for open grazing,’’ the governor said. Giving an overview of the bill earlier, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kolawole Oluwawole, said that the assembly gave it accelerated hearing as part of its collaborative efforts towards maintaining peace and order in the state.
According to Oluwawole, the state government was already working with local government authorities to allocate portions of land for grazing in their areas. He explained that grazing must henceforth be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on daily basis and that the government would allot portions of land to each local government area in that regard.
“Anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by government shall be apprehended and made to face the law. “Any herdsman caught with firearms and any weapons whatsoever during grazing shall be charged with terrorism.
“Any cattle confiscated shall be taken to government cattle ranch at Erifun and Iworoko Ekiti community in the state. “Any farm crop destroyed by the activities of any apprehended herdsman shall be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be borne by the culprit.
“Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall be imprisoned for six months without option of fine,” the speaker said.