Pass Anti-Grazing Law To Guarantee Security In South-East, Says ADF

Ahead of the resolve of the South-East Governors to float a common security platform, the Pan-Igbo group, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) on Thursday called on the five States in the region to urgently enact the Anti-Open Grazing Law and provide all necessary measures to ensure the security of lives and property of everyone residing in the area.

Describing the security situation in Nigeria today as “one of the worst,” and more critical than the one faced during the Nigeria-Biafra war, the ADF, through its Coordinator, Legal Bureau, Barrister Max Ozoka, regretted that there “does not seem to be anyone in charge to whom the people can look up to for their protection.”

The ADF, which has Professor Uzodinma Nwala as President, said that the grazing land triggered security situation necessitated the formation of the ‘Amotekun’ by South-West Governors, “Shege Ka Fasa” by Coalition of Northern Groups, the Tiv in Benue State, the Junkun in Taraba and the Edo people.

Stating that Nigerians have the right to protect themselves (their men, women and children) and their Ancestral lands from rampaging bandits, ADF said these groups are only exercising their “fundamental right to Self-Defense, a right which we ourselves have been trying to exercise but now need to assert in more positive and non-ambiguous terms.”

Emphasizing that the herders-farmers clash as the major security threat to Nigeria, the Pan-Igbo body regretted that “the free roaming and grazing of cattle that lawlessly destroy the crops of helpless farmers is the major root cause of the problem. What is more, criminals from West African and other countries have taken advantage of this situation to invade our communities, wreaking all manner of havoc, killing, maiming, kidnapping our innocent citizens, raping our wives, sisters and daughters with reckless abandon and mindless impunity. Our President, General Mohammad Buhari has himself publicly confessed that many of these criminals come from Libya.

“The most common identity of these criminals is that they hide under the movement of cattle. Therefore, commonsensically, the first step in tackling the Security challenges, is to control the free movement and grazing of Cattle. We are not saying that nobody should rear cattle. All we are saying is that open grazing of cattle is bad for our Security and bad for our economy and our survival.”

Saying that passing the Anti-Open Grazing law is basic to the guarantee of security in the South-East, it noted that the region already had ancestral customary Laws which prohibit the roaming of animals in communities and farms.

In addition, it noted that “we have an old Eastern Nigeria Law which prohibits the roaming of animals. Such animals are teetered to avoid the destruction of farm lands arising from freely roaming within the community.

“We must stop mystifying the issue of security as if when the enemy attacks us and our families, when he goes into our farm to destroy our crops, or forcefully enters our homes to seize the little foods we have for our children, we must do nothing but sit down until President Muhammadu Buhari or any Federal or State authority comes to our rescue. Indeed, the security of any man is first and foremost his personal responsibility.

“The role of Government on matters of security of the lives and property of the people is crucial but only second to the efforts of the individual citizen who are direct victims. It is true that one of the major reasons for the establishment of Government by man is to ensure his security and that of his family. However, this does not in any way remove the citizen’s personal responsibility in matters of his own security and that of his family.”

In 2016, the ADF submitted a Draft Anti-Open Grazing Bill to all the Igbo-Speaking Areas. But it is only the Abia House of Assembly that passed it even though it is yet to be signed into law by the Governor.

In 2016, the ADF submitted a Draft Anti-Open Grazing Bill to all the Igbo-Speaking Areas. But it is only the Abia House of Assembly that passed it even though it is yet to be signed into law by the Governor.

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