Verbal proclamation not enough; on anti-open grazing law we stand —ASETU
Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) Press Release — We are elated by the news of the proscription of open grazing in the South East by our Governors. The carnage and destruction of livelihoods wrought on our people by Fulani herdsmen cannot be tolerated any further.
This is the reason that for three years we have severally written the Governors and the Houses of Assembly in the South East. We also convoked a security summit in 2018 at Enugu, a security retreat at Abakaliki in 2019 and yet another security retreat at Enugu in 2020.
Today, we have it on the authority of the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, Engr. David Umahi, that this order which bans the herdsmen from unbridled mobility was made since 2019. It is therefore quite relieving that the Governors in the Zone are standing up to the menace of herdsmen.
However, if the order was issued in 2019 yet till this moment the atrocities of the herdsmen have continued apace, the implication is that the order is not sufficient in the face of this nightmarish reality.
More concrete steps must therefore be taken to stem the reprehensible and gruesome activities of the herdsmen in our land.
We are also aware of a judicial pronouncement against open grazing made at Ibadan in April, 1969.
While we affirm the legitimacy of that court order and commit ourselves to its letter and spirit, we also find it inadequate to deliver justice in the scenario we are now confronted with, given that it does not spell out the modalities for its enforcement, punishment to defaulters and recompense to victims upon its violation.
As a result, we insist that there is an overriding necessity for anti-open grazing laws in the South East. They should immediately be enacted by the various State Houses of Assembly in the South East.
Such laws, as we have since conceptualized, would address the inadequacies of a verbal proclamation by defining enforceable frameworks that take cognizance of appropriate punishment to defaulters, restitution to victims and restoration of losses.
Chief Emeka Diwe
Hon. Gideon Adikwuru