Lagos lawmakers pass anti-open grazing bill for 2nd reading

Lawmakers say the law would help reduce economic losses in Lagos.

Lagos State lawmakers [LSHA]

A law to ban the open grazing of cattle in Lagos has been passed for a second reading at the state's House of Assembly.

The 'Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill' was referred to the Committee on Agriculture after it was read during plenary on Monday, September 6, 2021.

House Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, said the 'timely' bill would protect the environment, and strengthen relations between herders and farmers.

Numerous other lawmakers spoke in support of the bill, noting that open grazing has terribly escalated tensions in the state and across the country.

Honourable Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2) said open grazing is an anomaly in the 21st century, and that passing the bill into law would reduce crime and help to guide the activities of herders.

Honourable Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), in his contribution, proposed stiffer penalties for herders caught carrying firearms.

He said they have spearheaded a reign of terror that has kept fearful farmers away from their farms and caused them economic ruin, as well as food insecurity for the country.

The bill is expected to easily pass, and be signed into law by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, following the resolution of the Southern Governors' Forum in July to have an anti-open grazing law in place before September.

The ban on open grazing across the southern region was first announced in May, with governors citing security concerns.

Conflict between herders and farmers caused by open grazing has led to the death of hundreds of people and displacement of thousands from their local communities.

Governors noted with concern the incursion of armed herders and criminal bandits into the south, escalating insecurity that has hampered citizens from living their normal lives.

The governors said development and population growth has put pressure on limited land resources, increasing the prospects of conflict with nomadic herders.

The Southern Governors' Forum has asked herders to consider ranching as an alternative, but the open grazing ban has been repeatedly condemned by the Federal Government as illegal.

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