Nigeria: Why We Won't Enact Anti-Open Grazing Law - Ogun Govt

14 February 2018

Ogun State Government on Wednesday says it has the law in place and does not need to frame new ones to check the menace of herdsmen/farmers clashes, which has been reported in Yewa North local Government Area of the state.

The government stated this at the end of a security meeting held at the governor's office in Abeokuta.

According to the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, the anti-land grabbing law of the state has taken care of the contemporary challenges involving herdsmen and farmers.

Mr. Adeoluwa who addressed journalists in company of heads of security agencies in the state and the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, said the state government will also strengthen its conflict resolution committee which he said has been in place since 2012.

He said the government had directed village heads in the state to conduct a census and keep record of herders in their areas with a view to combating the menace locally.

He, however, commended the people for not engaging in reprisal attacks against herders alleged to have trespassed their farms or attack residents, adding that the government was paying attention to the possibility of Boko Haram elements' involvement in the menace.

He said government would pay compensations to genuine victims of the clashes from both sides while being careful not to open a floodgate of claims.

Mr. Adeoluwa said Ogun State intends to remain a peaceful place for all residents, adding that it has laws to ensure peace in the state.

"All Nigerians would be welcomed in Ogun State but there are laws and rules that every stakeholder, every visitor, every herdsman, every farmer must comply with.

"The one that is very key in the packs of local laws is what we call the land grabber law; but the correct title is Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Land and other Properties Law," he said.

"The (security) council also took note that this law already provides for most of the contemporary challenges that confronts us today as far as herdsmen, settlers and farmers are concerned. Council reaffirmed government determination to continue to fully implement this law which already prohibits forcible entry on lands.

"Council decided that for us in Ogun State, we want everybody from all parts of the country and even outside but we will continue to insist that our laws be respected and obeyed. Our existing conflict resolution committee is a standing committee that has been put in place since 2012 when the crisis first arose and we've decided to further strengthen the committee', the scribe said.

"Council looked at the sister issue of Boko Haram because as they are rooting them out of that place (North East), they are going to all other areas for refuge and Ogun State is not exempted from the collateral damage of success in the North East',Adeoluwa said.

The State House of Assembly last year passed the anti-land grabbing law tagged 'Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Landed Properties Law, 2016' which prescribes 25 years imprisonment for any violator and death sentence in case of loss of lives.

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