Group urges Obaseki to ban open grazing in Edo
Gov assures on progress over EMOWAA, repatriation of Benin artifacts
The New Nigeria Initiative (NNI), a non-governmental organisation, has urged Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to ban open grazing to prevent further herders and farmers clashes in the state.
President of the group, Uwadiae Odigie, gave the charge when it visited the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe in Benin City.
Odigie said Edo State and the entire country were being gripped by herdsmen’s brutality, cruelty and awful cycle of events.
He lamented that Nigerians have been left to swim in hopelessness, frustration and suffering.
Following the herdsmen attacks, the NNI had on June, 2000, sent a private bill on the prohibition of cattle grazing to the state House of Assembly.
“But regrettably, nothing came out of it and the result has been herdsmen’s reign of reckless bloodshed and criminality in the state.
“The tragic drama mostly in Edo spurred us to re-introduce a modified version of the bill we presented in 2000 to the state House of Assembly titled: A Bill For A Law To Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing In Edo, he said.
While soliciting Obaseki’s support for speedy passage of the bill, he said there was the need for permanent and profound change in the state’s present security situation.
Odigie further drew the governor’s attention to the resurgence of mischievous activities being perpetrated by the outlawed Community Development Association (CDA) in Ovia East Council of the state.
“We, therefore, call on Governor Obaseki to investigate the development to stop herdsmen from spreading to other parts of the state.
Responding, Aikhuomobhogbe said the government was concerned about the security situation in Edo State, adding: “Before now, various communities have lived with herders peacefully, but suddenly things changed.”
“Government is doing its best to ensure food security in the state. If herdsmen and their cattle continue to destroy farmlands, it will affect food security.
“So, government will support anything that will help nip the problem in the bud. We are impressed that NNI is concerned about the national problem.”
He further explained that the state government was developing a policy on ranching to end the incessant herder and farmer clashes.
MEANWHILE, Governor Obaseki, has reassured that his administration would ensure realisation of the proposed Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) and facilitate the return of prized Benin heritage objects looted from Benin kingdom.
Obaseki gave on the sidelines of the World Art Day (WAD) celebration to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art, which was proclaimed at the 40th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2019.
“As we mark the World Art Day, the significance and justification for EMOWAA is brought to the fore.
“Besides the fact that we would be preserving our artifacts at the Museum, it will serve as a contact point to remind our people of the magnificence and sophistication of our forebears, as well as provide a rich experience of the cultural arts traditions of Benin people.
“We are making progress with the realisation of the museum project, as a renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye, who has been commissioned to design the museum, has produced the drawings that give us an idea of how visitors will interact with our arts heritage.”
He added that the British Museum has already made a donation of $4 million for the archaeological project to involve urban regeneration, excavation and renewal initiatives, adding, “This will enable us to create a unique experience for visitors to attract people to enjoy our state and see our great reforms.”
Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay said: “Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made very obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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