The Ekiti State Chapter of the Jamu Nate Fulbe Association of Nigeria, an umbrella body for herdsmen, has faulted the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose’s decision to sign the anti-grazing bill into law.
Recall that Fayose had on Monday signed the prohibition of cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti Bill, 2016 to Law, which prevented free grazing of cattle in the state and carrying of firearms by herdsmen, as well restriction of grazing period to between 7am and 6pm.
The new law prescribed six months jail term without option of fine to any herdsman, who is found guilty.
But reacting to the bill, the legal adviser to the association, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, Umar Imam, said it was wrong for Fayose to charge erring herdsmen with terrorism charges.
He argued that herdsmen who carried light weapons such as cutlasses, catapult, arrows and knives within the time stipulated cannot be charged with terrorism.
According to Imam, “The law of the federation on terrorism is very clear and no one can be charged for terrorism for carrying lesser arms like cutlasses, catapults and knives during the grazing period as contained in Ekiti new law.
“I have made it in my submission during the public hearing on the bill in the Ekiti state House of Assembly that these Fulani herdsmen used to use these lesser weapons for certain purposes that can make grazing easier.” ?
“I also told them that movement at night while relocating from one place to another was to ensure that they don’t wreak havoc on the people during the day while relocating to other towns. I expected the state government to have taken care of these in the new law rather than total banning.
“What the state government ought to have done is to allow whoever wants to relocate at night to take permit from a certain government’s authority or inform their Seriki, but banning them from moving at night may not help the situation, it will make their jobs difficult”, Vanguard quoted him as saying.