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Fulani herders sue Oyo goverment over anti-open grazing law

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Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) in Oyo State has taken the state government to a state high court over the recently passed anti-open grazing law.

The secretary, Garba Umar, told The Guardian in Ibadan yesterday that the case was instituted on December 13, 2019, arguing that the law violated the herders’ fundamental rights.

He said, “We pleaded the court to caution the state governor and House of Assembly. We joined the states Attorney General.”

Sponsored by the Speaker of Oyo Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin; the Deputy Speaker, Abiodun Fadeyi; Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin; and the Minority Leader, Asimiyu Alarape, the anti-grazing bill was passed last year by the House of Assembly to sanitise herding and end farmers-herders clashes in the state.

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The Fulani group faulted the move at the time, but the House of Assembly insisted that the law was not aimed at frustrating their business but to create a sound platform for peaceful co-existence among residents and make it easy to identify intruding herders who are believed to wreak havoc every time they find their way into the state.

Oyo Assembly also held a public hearing on the bill before passing it. Several interested individuals and groups, including GAFDAN, submitted memoranda, which were considered before the bill was passed.

But the Fulani herders, in the suit marked M/744/2019, want the court to declare the law illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

They also prayed the court to grant them an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents or their agents from carrying out any act likely to aid the enactment of anti-grazing bill into law, claiming that it would amount to a denial of their fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution of Nigeria.

The law will make it compulsory for herders to register with the government. Identity cards are issued with their personal details fully captured for full identification and tracing for crime control.


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