Farmers, herdsmen clash: Law to criminalize illegal grazing under way in Enugu

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 19th, 2014
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The Enugu State House of Assembly has commenced moves to end frequent violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the State.

The bill, entitled “A law to make provisions for the control of normadic cattle rearing in Enugu State and other matters related thereto” is being sponsored by Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, representing Nsukka East Constituency.

The lawmaker in an interview with journalists said the bill when passed into law would promote symbiotic relationship between the farmers and the herdsmen.

Nwamba, who lamented that several lives and properties have been lost in different parts of the country owing to the clashes, urged other States to replicate the law.

“The main reason behind this bill is to ensure adequate peace between the two parties- farmers and herdsmen. Nobody in this country is ignorant of some violent clashes which have occurred as a result of disagreement between the farmers and the herdsmen.

“We have cases where the herdsmen will allow their cattle to grave on farmlands, and when the farmers kill the cows in retaliation, the herdsmen will go further extent to challenge the farmers.

“So, it is my firm belief that when this bill is passed into law, it will end conflict and promote peace between these parties. They need the services of each other”.

The bill provides for the establishment of grazing areas in each of the three senatorial zones of Enugu State and the normadic cattle rearers shall ensure that the cattle are confined within the grazing areas as provided.

It further provided that “any person who permits cattle to graze in an area not designated as grazing area in the State, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to six months imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 (one hundred thousand) or both.

“As from the commencement of this law, the commissioner shall appoint poundmasters in all the local government areas in the state, whose functions shall include the impounding of cattle found grazing in a non-designated grazing areas.

“Cattle found grazing in an area not designated a grazing area in the State shall be impounded by the poundmaster or any other person duly authorized by the commissioner”.

According to the bill, “any cattle impounded under this law, which is not claimed within one week of the impoundings shall be sold in accordance with auction law; the proceeds of the sale shall be deposited in the government revenue”.

Meanwhile, the bill, which was mentioned at the House plenary session on Tuesday, is expected to be debated on Thursday

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