Sunday, January 24, 2021 9:00 am
The quit notice that the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, gave the Fulani herdsmen from the reserve forests has created conflict between him and the Federal Authorities. The latter claimed that the Governor has not legal right to do that.
Even right now, herdsmen are causing a lot of havoc in no fewer than 29 Ogun villages and Oke Oke Ogun in Oyo State, where Sunday Igboho is spitting fire and brimstone on the Fulani. For this reason, the Inspector General of Police, M. Adamu, has ordered his arrest.
There is however, a legal precedent to the argument that open grazing is bad.
That is, the 17 April 1969 verdict by Justice Adewale Thompson:
JUSTICE ADEWALE THOMPSON BANNED OPEN GRAZING ON 17TH APRIL 1969 AND WARNED OF UNPROVOKED KILLINGS BY FULANI HERDSMEN
Hon. Justice Adewale Thompson Bans Open Grazing in Nigeria
It is high time states put this law into practice and end unprovoked killings by Fulani herdsmen.
*Hon.Justice Adewale Thompson’s 1969 Judgment on Open Cattle Grazing – Suit no AB/26/66.*
Hon.Justice Adewale Thompson: 17th April, 1969.
Suit no AB/26/66 at Abeokuta Division of the High Court.
“I do not accept the contention of Defendants that a custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of farm to fence his farm whilst the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage. Such a custom if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and therefore unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to fence in his cattle.” Sequence to that I banned open grazing for it is inimical to peace and tranquility and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.”
This information should be shared widely so that state governors should be aware of it. It is not known that anybody appealed against this decision, so in law any open grazing is a violation of the law. State governors should setup Task forces that will enforce this law and arrest offenders.