Grazing: Ayade Signs Bill ‘Protecting’ Farmers, Herders In Cross River
Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has signed the state’s Livestock and Grazing Management Bill into law.
He assented to the bill on Monday during a brief ceremony at the conference hall of the Governor’s Office within the Government House in Calabar, the state capital.
Governor Ayade described the new law as masterpieces of legislation, saying it has a significant difference compared to what most states have.
“Contrary to what most states have done, we have made containment and control measures to define the beacons of range through which any form of ranching can be done,” he said while assenting to the law. “The law is very detailed. It provides penalties for straying cattle, as well as cattle rustling.
“Anybody who steals cattle belonging to a herdsman, there is a penalty provided in the law. Any herdsman who allows his cattle to stray out of the ranch, there is a penalty. So, with this law, we have protected the farmers and we have protected the herders too.
“This way we did not absolutely ban but we have controlled grazing, we have controlled movement of cattle and made a provision that all movement of cattle within the state has to be by vehicle, so, there would no more be trekking with cows through farmlands.”
Governor Ayade, however, debunked claims that the law has legitimatised the destruction of farmlands by farmers.
According to him, the law is not designed to entertain the destruction of farmlands or to exterminate the business of herders.
The governor explained that the government took into consideration, the fact that it was not only non-indigenes of the state were into livestock farming.
“We also have Cross River indigenes who are into livestock,” he clarified as he commended the speaker and members of the State House of Assembly for their foresight and cleverness in fashioning the laws.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Eteng Williams, in his remarks, said the law would shape the behavioural pattern of residents.