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Criminalising Armed Fulani Herdsmen In Ekiti Irks Arewa Consultative Forum

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The umbrella body for northern groups, the Arewa Consultative Forum, however, said any law which contravened the constitution of the country would be illegal, adding that any Nigerian was free to move in any part of the country.

The Arewa Consultative Forum, says any individual or group that illegally carried arms against the state as a criminal but the Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti actions seems to offend the group.

Ekiti-Ekiti State House of Assembly on thursday prescribed six months jail term for any herdsmen who allow his cattle, sheep and goat to graze on undesignated land for ranches in Ekiti. The bill which was unanimously passed at the plenary sitting of the Assembly, seek to regulate public grazing in the state.

In an interview with newsmen in Kaduna, the ACF spokesman stated that any Fulani herdsmen or any other group in possession of illegal firearms were considered as criminals before the law and should be treated as criminals by the state.

“This is not the question of herdsmen or Fulani or anybody. Anybody carrying arms illegally is committing a serious offence against the state. Naturally, such people should be punished by the law.”

The President, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, while condemning the attacks by the herdsmen, however, expressed reservation on the new law in Ekiti State.

Shettima added, “The issue of criminality perpetrated by some people should not be seen as an avenue to criminalise others.

‘‘Fayose should have looked at the issue in collaboration with the Federal Government. So, if he is passing the law to victimise other people, I don’t think it is right.”

Read below, a recap of the law by Ayodele FAYOSE.

All You Need To Know About The Ekiti State Grazing Prohibition Bill Signed Into Law

Ekiti state governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, on Monday signed the “Anti Grazing Bill 2016” recently passed by the House of Assembly. The bill was sponsored by the executive after the killing of two persons by suspected herdsmen in Oke Ako community in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.

The new law criminalises grazing in some places and certain time limit in the state. Signing the bill, Fayose said that the new law would check cases of incessant attacks or killings of local residents and destruction of farmlands by herdsmen and their cattle.

He said that the law would also strengthen security in various communities across the state, adding that anyone that fouled the law stood the risk of being treated as terrorist. “With the signing into law of this bill today, anyone caught grazing with arms or any weapon in Ekiti would now be charged with terrorism and be made to face the law according to certain sections of it.

“The same goes for those who graze in prohibited areas or go against the time frame of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. allowed for open grazing,’’ the governor said. Giving an overview of the bill earlier, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kolawole Oluwawole, said that the assembly gave it accelerated hearing as part of its collaborative efforts towards maintaining peace and order in the state.

According to Oluwawole, the state government was already working with local government authorities to allocate portions of land for grazing in their areas. He explained that grazing must henceforth be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on daily basis and that the government would allot portions of land to each local government area in that regard.

“Anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by government shall be apprehended and made to face the law.

“Any herdsman caught with firearms and any weapons whatsoever during grazing shall be charged with terrorism. “Any cattle confiscated shall be taken to government cattle ranch at Erifun and Iworoko Ekiti community in the state.

“Any farm crop destroyed by the activities of any apprehended herdsman shall be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be borne by the culprit. “Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall be imprisoned for six months without option of fine,” the speaker said.

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