Akwa Ibom governor signs anti-open grazing bill into law

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Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom, has signed a bill banning open grazing of cattle in the state, into law.

The bill for the prohibition of open rearing and grazing of livestock was earlier passed by the state house of assembly, on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Udo Kieran, member representing Oruk Anam constituency, also provides for the establishment of ranches and livestock administration, regulation and control.

Emmanuel, while signing the bill into law on Wednesday, said the new law will ensure that justice is served on anyone whose livestock is involved in the destruction of farms.

He said persons found culpable would be brought to book, irrespective of how highly placed they are.

The governor also directed relevant authorities to ensure that the law is implemented and enforced.

“The law will be used against you, irrespective of who you are. So, make sure you create ranches to take care of your livestock,” he said.

“It is very painful for a farmer to wake up and discover that his crops that he had toiled for several months have been destroyed by cattle.

“Just as you are rearing your animals to make profits, the farmer is also aiming for profits, and as such, you should not come and destroy his own business with yours.

“Once you are caught, such animals would be confiscated and the fine would add to the revenue of the state government, and shall also be used to settle the loss of the farmer.”

The law is also aimed at promoting modern techniques of animal husbandry, preventing the destruction of farms, while also reducing clashes between herders and farmers in the state.

In May, the governors of the southern region, in a meeting in Asaba, Delta state capital, resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot.

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