Henceforth, any person in Akwa Ibom whose livestock strays into another person’s farm or property would face the full weight of the new anti-open livestock grazing law.
Governor Udom Emmanuel gave the warning after signing into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The bill was passed into law by the state House of Assembly on Tuesday, September 14.
Emmanuel who signed the bill into law on Wednesday at the state Council Chambers vowed to confiscate the animals, add fine to the revenue of the state government and use it to settle to loss of the farmer.
According to him, it would be unnecessary for anyone found culpable to attempt to use his power or influence, as the law will be fully invoked to ensure that justice is served.
“The law will be used against you, irrespective of who you are, so make sure you create ranches to take care of your livestock.
”It is very painful for a farmer to wake and discover that his crops that he had toiled for several months, have been destroyed by your cattle.
“Just as you are rearing your animals to make profits, the farmer is also aiming for profits and as such you should not come and destroy his own business with yours.
“Once you are caught, such animals would be confiscated and the fine would add to the revenue of the state government, and shall also be used to settle the loss of the farmer,” Emmanuel said.
The signing was witnessed by the State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Aniekan Bassey and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom (SAN).
Also in the EXCO chambers during the ceremony was the wife of the Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel, who was earlier inaugurated to head the Akwa Ibom State Gender-Based Violence Management Committee; the Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo.
The new law promotes modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle, and aims to address clashes between herders and farmers in the state.
It also promotes international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
Southern governors in Nigeria had reached a resolution on July 5, 2021 in Lagos, for member states to enact legislation against open grazing of cattle in their states on or before September 1.
Only five states were able to meet the deadline.