The Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Alao, has advised herdsmen in Oyo State against the violation of the state’s anti-open grazing law put in place by the state government to regulate herders’ activities.
Olugbon, who doubles as the Deputy Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas, spoke in an interview with The Street Journal in Ibadan at the weekend.
He stated that no government would fold its arms and watch people violate the law adding that the administration would not allow anybody to violate its anti-open grazing law.
The monarch further stressed that although the Nigeria Constitution permits Nigerians to live any where they want to live, that section of the Constitution was not a licence for anybody to break the law.
According to him, the state put the anti-open grazing law in place to end the crisis between herdsmen and farmers and the monarch.
He, therefore, warned that the law would be enforced strictly in due course. He added that any violator would be dealt with irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds or religious beliefs.
The Olugbon said, “What I will tell them (herdsmen) is that in as much as the law permits every Nigerian to live wherever they choose to live within Nigeria, that does not give them the room to be lawless.
“The anti-open grazing law has been passed and if anybody violates the law, the law enforcement agents will catch up with such person. The person will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“The Fulani leaders in Oyo State communicated with us the outcome of the meeting they had with the commissioner of police. They are monitoring their people. The state government, the Oyo State Police Command and traditional rulers are working together to ensure there is peace in every part of the state.
“Whoever violates the law, the law enforcement agents will catch him or her and they will face the consequence.”
Oba Alao, who led other monarchs, state government delegation and the police to the January 24 peace meeting held in Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state to restore peace in the community, said the government and security agencies were working to ensure that the area is peaceful at all times.
He said, “The governor went to Ibarapa and I believe he saw things himself and the people must have told him the problems. The situation will return back to normal in the area and in every part of the state.
Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to the governor in an earlier interview last week, said that the government of the day had set in motion the anti open grazing law which must be followed by interested herders.
Adisa said, “If you are conversant with the state’s anti open grazing law, it has already spelt out the relationship between farmers and herders. It has also spelt out the position of the state on livestock rearing in the state. The law signed by the governor says there won’t be open grazing of livestock in the state and there won’t be child grazing in the state and that anybody who is interested in grazing in the state can apply for ranches.
“If he spots a piece of land, he can apply to the land owner for lease of land for three years and it is renewable. Once the land owner agrees to the proposal, he would submit it to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources which will, in turn, submit an application to the Ministry of Environment to conduct an environmental impact assessment. If the Ministry finds the land suitable for ranching it would forward the application to the governor for approval.
“The governor, in his wisdom, will either approve or disapprove the application. That is the procedure. The state on its own is not going to create ranches for people. If the state on its own wants to go into animal husbandry it can create ranches in accordance with the law.”