By John Ikani
Member representing Ekeremor Constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Tare Porri has revealed why Bayelsa State declared that the speedy passage of the anti-grazing law.
Porri in a chat with newsmen said the speedy passage of the anti-grazing law in Bayelsa State was aimed at securing the lives and property of Bayelsans.
According to him, cattle rearing business is a private business which herdsmen have been carrying out with utter disregard to the laws enabling security in the state.
While noting that the passage of the bill has enabled residents of the state capital, Yenagoa to enjoy the serene environment of the city, Porri commended the state Governor Douye Diri for his giant strides in the state.
He also applauded the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Abraham Ngobere for piloting the legislative arm of the state without bias across party lines.
What the lawmaker said:
“The Ijaw ethnic nationality is the fourth largest in this country and the Ijaw man has never been conquered. You are aware that our terrain is below sea level and we don’t have land.
“When people talk about anti-opening grazing law, you must realize that cattle rearing business is a private business; this is what some people don’t understand.
“It is not a business that should concern the Federal Government. It is the business of an individual and if such individual wants to do business, he or she must be ready to obey the laws put in place. You cannot just move your cows to my state and use it to disturb other residents of the state.
“So, when the time came to look at a proper law to address the issue of cattle rearing and grazing matters, we were quick to look at it. Being a proactive House of Assembly, we were among the first to pass the ant-grazing law and it was assented to by the governor.
“Now residents of Yenagoa are enjoying the serene environment of the city. Before now even in the afternoon, you would see cows roaming around but now they are confined to a place. If you want to get a cow, you go there and get it.
“The bill was an executive bill initiated by the governor and as a proactive House, we realize it would go a long way in helping our people. You are aware what is going on in the North between herders and farmers’ clashes.
“To be fair to the governor, at some point, every day we hear reports from our people, how Fulani herdsmen have taken over their farms.
“Moreover, we don’t have lands and the few we have, some people want to forcefully evict us and take the lands. Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation is not a dumping ground. You can’t go to the North and say you want to do a business without obeying the laws. Cow dealers and rearers want to coerce us all to their whims and caprices, and we said no that things must be done decently.
“The law is working and Bayelsans are happier about it; these days, you don’t hear herders are taking over lands. If you violate the law, there is a penalty for it. People are now conscious.
What you should know
As climate change brings harsher and longer droughts, northern Nigerian pastoralists have been pushed further south in search of grazing for their animals.
But farmed areas also are expanding, leaving far less open grazing land available for pastoralists, and leading to herds more frequently straying into crops.
Asides straying into farmlands herders have been linked to heinous crimes including murder, kidnapping and rape as they seek greener pastures down south.
To try to stop conflicts, a number of state government have instituted a law prohibiting the long-held practice of herders grazing their animals on any open land.
More so, governors in the southern part of the country had in the last few weeks signed anti-grazing bills into law in a move geared towards curbing the farmer-herder crisis and attendant insecurity in the region.
In Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri assented to the Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law 2021 in March 2021 at the Executive Chamber of Government House, Yenagoa.
He said the essence of the law prohibiting open grazing was to ensure harmonious living between cattle dealers and other inhabitants of the state and to forestall violent clashes being experienced in other parts of the country.