RESIDENTS of the State of Osun have called on the government and stakeholders to adequately inform and enlighten herders in the state on the recently enacted Anti-Open Grazing Law.
In spite of the law, herders, particularly children herders, were still grazing their cattle openly in many parts of the state, the residents observed.
According to the law, “A minor is prohibited from grazing, rearing or herding of livestock, except under the supervision of an adult.
“A minor who contravenes the provision of Section 3 (4) committed an offence, and the guardian or parent of the minor or owner of the livestock as the case may be, shall be vicariously liable on conviction to a fine of N300,000.
“Any herdsman or pastoralist who attacks or threatens to track any farmer, person or commuter whether or not injury is occasioned by the attack shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year without an option of fine.
“Conveyance of livestock on foot from one destination to another in the state is prohibited, except such movement is by rail wagon or truck or pick-up wagon and is within 7am and 6pm.”
However, residents of the state said the herders are still not complying with the law.
The State Government had in September held a meeting with Fulani, Bororo and herders to enlighten them on the Anti-Open Grazing Law.
At the meeting, the herders said they were ready to abide by the Anti-Open Grazing Law.
The herders who spoke through the Seriki Fulani and their Secretary in the State, Ibrahim Babatunde and Oluwatoyin Yusuf said they were scared of the law but upon adequate explanation, they were ready to cooperate with the government to ensure proper implementation.
However, a resident of Ikire, Mr. Taofeek Jayeola, said the herders were yet to drop open grazing in the area.
Jayeola said: “The herders still move cattle around in Ikire. The cattle were always led to cross the expressway on daily basis. They also come into the UNIOSUN campus for greener pastures.”
Mrs. Folashade Adebayo, a resident of Osogbo said, “The herdsmen do come with their animals into the compound of Muslim Grammar School, Isale Osun, Osogbo which also applied to some other areas in the state capital such as, Oke-Baale, Mallam Tope area in Osogbo. It is also common around Aisu area in Ede.”
In his account, a resident of Iree, Mr. Joshua Afolabi, said he still notices the movement of herders with their animals, saying they usually move into a nearby bush close to the Osun state Polytechnic, Iree campus as well as Igbajo in Boluwaduro local Government.
According to an eyewitness, about two weeks ago, the movement of herders was also discovered at the popular Owode-Ede market with their cattle which halted vehicular movement for a while.