Open Grazing : Civil Society Groups Flay; Accuse Governor Obaseki Of Betraying Edo People!

The Edo Civil Society Organisations, EDOCSO, have berated Governor, Godwin Obaseki for allegedly demanding funds from the Federal Government for a National Livestock Transformation Programme.

The groups submitted that the action was a betrayal of Edo people and a negation of the resolution reached at a town hall meeting by the Southern Governors’ Forum on open grazing.

Governor Obaseki had, after attending the town hall meeting on Tuesday, flown to Abuja to demand from the Federal Government funds for a Livestock Transformation Programme in the State.

He told President Muhammadu Buhari: “It should also be able to help Edo people benefit from the funding that is now being made available for people who want to go into the livestock business and have made investments in ranches and other similar livestock programmes.”

Governor Obaseki.

But EDOCSO, in a press conference held in Benin on Thursday, said if the agreement reached at the town hall meeting by the Southern Governors’ Forum was in variance with Obaseki’s demand from President Buhari, then it amounts to a betrayal of trust, adding that such would not be tolerated in the state.

Bishop Osadolor Ochei
Interim Chairman, The Extended Council, TEC while addressing Journalists at the conference called on Governor Obaseki to obey the decision and resolution he and other Southern Governor reached at the town hall meeting.

While noting that traditional rulers and the church in the State have all made it clear to the Governor that the State has no land for open grazing, Osadolor called on the Governor to, as a matter of urgency, transmit a bill on anti-open-grazing to the state House of Assembly so that “we all can have peace. ”

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“Edo people will not be a party to ceding their lands to the Federal Government plan in whatever disguise. There is no going back on the ban on open grazing in Edo State which is the yearnings of Edo people. Owners of cattle should build their ranches to carry out their legitimate business.”

“We are giving him till the second week of November to transmit the said bill to the Edo State House of Assembly so it can become law,” the group further submitted.

“Any cattle owner who allows his cattle to graze on a farmer’s land or destroy any property should be made to serve a jail term not less than six months and pay compensation to the farmer whose farm is destroyed. He should also stand the chance of forfeiting the cattle to the state government.”

Osadolor further posited: “The provision of colony to cattle owners should be discouraged. Every cattle owner should purchase/lease land for the purpose of ranching and/or any other farming operations.All cattle owners must ranch their cattle. It is not the business of government to provide lands for cattle owners.”

The civil society organistion therefore called on Governor Obaseki to stop further discussions on the National Livestock Transformation Programme with the Federal Government irrespective of the monetary benefits.

While calling on the state government to invest on the agric sector, the civil society organistion stressed that this would address food scarcity and other issues in the State.

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