Some farmers in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State have appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill already passed by the House of Assembly into law.
The President, Igangan Agro Park Investment Association, Oluwafemi Abioye, disclosed this in Ibadan.
He said the bill, Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation, was passed by the lawmakers in October 2019 and more than a year after its passage, the governor had yet to sign it into law.
Abioye, who retired from the banking sector to go into agriculture said, farmers especially those in the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state had suffered huge financial losses as and some of them had been killed by the suspected rampaging herdsmen.
He said the killing of a farmer, Dr Fatai Aborode, was the latest loss of life suffered by the farmers in the area, saying his life had also been threatened by the herdsmen.
He also disagreed with the police that Aborode, who contested the 2015 House of Representatives election on the platform of the Accord Party was killed by armed robbers. He said herdsmen killed the farmer, saying the deceased had had constant friction with the herdsmen for a long time.
He said, “We are appealing to the governor to ensure that the anti-open grazing bill is signed into law. The law is not discriminatory in any way. It is not against the herdsmen nor farmers. It dictates how each person will carry out their agricultural businesses in the right way
“All farmers in the zone have lost almost N400m to destruction. The loss was valued at N320m in September but now it has increased to around N400m and nobody is compensating us. Will this encourage other investors to come here to invest?
“In the last two months, five persons were attacked and some of the victims almost lost their limbs to these herdsmen attack. We cannot continue this way. These herdsmen will deliberately use underage herders to graze their livestock so that when you accuse them, they would say it was done by children. They also graze at night so that they will be able to perpetrate their atrocities unhindered.
“The owners of the cattle are sitting somewhere in the North laughing to the bank while we are here recording losses. The bill seeks to address this and it also protects the herdsmen also.
“They have been threatening us for over a year that they will invite militia to come and further destroy our farms and kill us. We live in fear each time we go to farm. There is no week without kidnapping in Ibarapa North Local Government.”
He said that now that Operation Amotekun has been established, the corps would ensure compliance with the bill when it is signed into law..