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General News of Tuesday, 28 December 2021


Anti-open grazing law suffers setback in Bayelsa as herders violate law

Anti-open grazing law in Bayelsa State is under serious threat Anti-open grazing law in Bayelsa State is under serious threat

The anti-open grazing law in Bayelsa State is under serious threat as herdsmen have been violating the law in recent times.

Governor Douye Diri had on Wednesday, March 10 signed into law the anti-open grazing law known as Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law. He had also set up the Livestock Management Committee headed by the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources, Mr David Alagoa, with members also drawn from the security agencies to enforce the law.

The enforcement chairman of the committee, who is also the chairman of the Ijaw Youth Congress (Central Zone), Clever Inodu, had in the company of security agencies in late November arrested some herders and their cows around Onopa and Zarama, both in Yenagoa Local Government Area for violating the law.

However, investigations revealed that fear of reprisal attacks from herders and lack of protection by security agencies in the state has made the people tight-lipped in reporting offenders to the appropriate authority.

There have been reports of herders violating the law around Gbarantoru in Yenagoa Local Government Area, the Airport at Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Elebele in Ogbia Local Government Area and Zarama in Yenagoa Local Government.

A concerned Governor Diri had to charge the youths of Elebele led by its president, Famous Egbo, to stand up and ensure the enforcement of the law.

Governor Diri who was on an inspection tour of ongoing projects days before Christmas was seen in a viral video posted by one of his social media aides ordering the arrest of cows and the herder in charge at Elebele for violating the law.

‘Youth President, by our laws you have the right to arrest them (cows and the herders). I just called the security agencies because they all know that by our law here there is a ban on open grazing. And anybody who is doing that is against the law. So we would arrest the cows and the person and immediately take him to court. Don’t be afraid of anybody,’ Diri said.

When contacted on phone, Alagoa who is the chairman of the management committee to enforce the law said there is no cause for alarm noting that the law is still in the active force.

‘There is no problem with the law. When work resumes fully in the New Year, you will see a lot of things happen,’ he said.

Also in an interview, Inodu insists the enforcement committee is working to ensure violators are arrested, prosecuted and sentenced.

According to him, some violators were arrested on Christmas Day and they are in detention pending their prosecution.

Egbo speaking on the issue said herders and cows are still terrorizing the people even after Governor Douye Diri ordered the arrest.

‘The herders are still worrying us even after the Governor ordered arrest when he came here. We cannot on our own arrest them and we have told the enforcement team. But the team told us they are going to another Ijaw area and that it is when they come back on 30th that they can come to our place,’ he said.

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