The anti-open grazing law being worked on by the Oyo State House of Assembly will not affect the livelihood of Fulani cattle rearers in the state as it is being enacted to protect both herders and members of their host communities.
Hon. Kazeem Olayanju, chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. gave this assurance in a chat on Sunday.
Olayanju’s assurance follows fears expressed by a Fulani group, the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, on Friday which said the law may affect their livelihood since most of them were subsistence cattle rearers.
The group led by its National President Alhaji Sale Bayari, appealed to the Assembly to consider allow the cattle rearers explore an alternative grazing space, which it called settled grazing, should the law become absolutely necessary.
But Olayanju, insists that the Fulani in Oyo State have nothing to fear about the law because it was aimed at regulating grazing in the state in a way that will protect them and other members of the society.
He explained that the Assembly recognizes that the Fulani in the state have lived together peacefully with indigenes for several decades, adding that the lawmakers are aware that they have fully integrated into the various communities where they live and do their business.
According to him, rather than ban open grazing totally, the bill is proposing registration of all Fulanis in cattle rearing for issuance of permit.
He said the Assembly believes that most of those involved in criminality are foreigners and Fulani who came from other parts of the country to infiltrate the resident Fulanis, thereby giving the entire stock a bad name.
His words: “Our people have been living together peacefully with the Fulani for ages. But the popular claim now is that Fulanis are criminals. It is also believed that the Fulanis that are committing crime are those coming from other countries. So the bill will make them register and get permits and identity cards. So if they are accosted anywhere in the state, their ID cards and permit will clear them as well known Fulanis who are free to practice their trade. This will help check influx of foreigners into their midst. It will also protect them. We just want to regulate them so that nobody will harass them. It will also enable them live peacefully with farmers. This law will also enhance peaceful relationship of all stakeholders in the farming system in the state.”
Hon. Olayanju said that a public hearing might hold on the bill before the Third Reading of the bill.