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Open Grazing: Lagos proposes 21-year jail for armed herdsmen

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday considered a bill proposing a 21-year jail term for any herder found with firearms.

According to Tribune, the bill titled “Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill, 2021” was sent to the House by the executive.

The lawmakers condemned the moving of cattle around the state, arguing that it threatens peaceful coexistence.

Bisi Yusuff, the lawmaker representing Alimosho 1, who supported the 21-year jail term, stressed that open grazing has reduced food supply drastically.

“The acts of these herders have created a scarcity of food supply in the west. It is shameful that cattle move along expressways, destroy markets,” he said.

Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2) and Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 2), stated that the open grazing system was an aberration in the 21st century, noting that the bill will reduce crime rates if passed into law.

On his part, Gbolahon Yishawu said, “Economic losses will be reduced. It is a bill that looks at the economy of cattle rearing, and also the benefit of the economy of crop farming.”

Setonji David (Badagry 2), while recounting a scenario of “herders’ misbehaviour”, said open grazing is the crime and not ownership of cattle, just as he suggested that the Lagos State Neighbourhood Corps (LNSC) should work with other security agencies in enforcing the law.

Meanwhile, speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, stressed the need to identify and register herders in the state, adding that it was pertinent to provide financial support and training for those interested in ranching.

Obasa further committed the bill to the House Committee on Agriculture and Cooperative, directing that a report be tendered on Thursday.

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