by Stanford Arinze Nwokedi
EPIC PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT
⚫SIEVING THE NOISE FROM THE FACTS⚫
THE PROHIBITION OF GRAZING OF CATTLE IN RESTRICTED AREAS, LAW OF IMO STATE, 2006:
© ~STANFORD ARINZE NWOKEDI
SSA PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT~
The Imo State Government, Southeast of Nigeria, has since 2006 enacted a comprehensive and pertinently viable law that has proved to be potent and effective in the management, control and enforcement of order on Cattle Grazing activities in the State.
The law is known and called “Prohibition Of Cattle Grazing In Restricted Areas, Law Of Imo State, 2006”.
Through the instrumentality of the above named law, the Government of Imo State has managed to contain grazing activities within allowed spaces vis-a-vis the defined and or the RESTRICTED areas as contained in the extant law.
The law was a product of the peculiarities of Imo State and Nigeria as a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Political space. This law has, unsung, achieved the feat of ensuring that there are no preponderance of fatal clashes between the farmers and herdsmen within the autonomous borders of Imo State, having been necessitated by the clash between farmers and herdsmen at Iheagwa during the Achike Udenwa-led PDP Government of Imo State. Hence, Imo State can pride itself as the only State in the entire Federation of Nigeria that has successfully and within admissible Federation standards as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, been able to instrumentally manage grazing activities and spelling deterrant sanctions to offenders of the law.
No Government worth its salt can be stampeded into any other legal instrument when the law in place is competent, as in the extant case, to inclusively ensure there are no untoward tendencies affecting its citizens.
The clamour for a “Southern” anti-Open Grazing Bill is a political banana peel that is ill-motivated and without necessary backed-up infrastructure for herders doing their legitimate businesses in the States.
By banning “Open Grazing, the Government is expected to provide the alternatively lawful infrastructure in forms of Ranches for the herders.
Considering the explicitly BANNED areas in the extant PROHIBITION OF CATTLE GRAZING IN RESTRICTED AREAS, LAW OF IMO STATE, 2006, the farmers’/herders clashes can be adequately and substantially be minimized if not entirely stopped. A Government that adequately enforces this extant law has no reasons, whatsoever, to worry over the outright ban of Open Grazing.
The defined restricted areas in the extant Law include:
◼️ All Cultivated Lands
◼️ All Residential Areas and
◼️ All Commercial Areas.
If the above listed areas are barred for Cattle Grazing, there is no way the farmers in the State may be adversely affected. There is also no way commercial concerns may be negatively affected. Ditto for citizens in their residential areas. Peace would therefore have been achieved.
With these facts made bare and the Governments both at State and Local Government Areas are able to, through regular and intermittent consultations, interfaces and dialogues with the farmers, herders and other strata of Imo citizens, the result as is the case with Imo State will continue to be peaceful coexistence and inclusiveness.
Thet hullabaloo for the banana peel of the main opposition party, the PDP meant artfully to sustain their unproductive hold on the Southeast, is unnecessary and ridden with recriminations prospectively, reprisal mutual ethnic suspicions, unnecessary apprehensions, scaremongering and socio-political anarchy.
Rather than suggesting that an examplarily viable law such as is extant in Imo State be repealed or abbrogated for a prospectively untried “Anti Open Grazing law” with its ethnic discoloration timebomb and banana peel, I suggest that the extant law, *THE PROHIBITION OF CATTLE GRAZING IN RESTRICTED AREAS, LAW OF IMO STATE, 2006, (tried and found competent to manage and contain a pluralistic ethnic society with a record near 100% success rating) be exported free of charge and effectively enforced in not only the entire Southeast but across the length and breadth of the Nigerian Federation.
The consequential implications of a stampeded outright bandwagon ban on Open Grazing without concomitant infrastructural provisions will be far reaching as to adversely affect our national unity (incidentally the sinister motivation of political interests), inclusiveness and coexistence as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution.