Governor Godwin Obaseki has described as senseless the enactment of the anti-open grazing law by southern state governors.
“We are one of the few states that have not signed the bill into law, and the reason is simple to sign a law is very simple. It doesn’t make sense to put out a law you cannot enforce,” said Mr Obaseki on Monday at a stakeholders’ town hall meeting on the proposed anti-open grazing law.
The country’s 17 southern governors had met on three different occasions this year and agreed to enact the anti-open grazing laws as a measure of curtailing insecurity.
Governors like Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Rotimi Akeredolu, Nyesom Wike, among others, have signed the anti-open grazing law.
“The best way of enforcing a law is to bring everybody together to be part of that law,” argued Mr Obaseki.
Stressing that the crisis was deeply rooted, the governor suggested that “let us go to the root of the causes and resolve it from there.”
He added, “People have said that we have lived a hundred years together in harmony before now. Why are we now having this problem today?”
For Mr Obaseki, enacting the law without addressing the root causes is like “scratching the surface.”
“The anti-grazing law, in my view, is to deal with some perception. I just want to tell you that this is not an issue between Christians and Muslims,” the Edo governor pointed out. “It is not an issue between North and South. It is not an issue between Edo people and Fulani people.”
He further advised leaders not to politicise the matter.
“My worry is that if we don’t celebrate them, to understand that the business in cattle herding is separate so that we can know those people who are using cattle rearing to perpetrate crime and insecurity in our state, we will be missing the point,” added Mr Obaseki.
Last month, Governor Nasir El-Rufai slammed Mr Sanwo-Olu and other southern governors for enacting anti-open grazing laws, accusing them of playing to the gallery.