Fulani herdsmen under the aegis of Jamu Nate Fulbe Association of Nigeria in Ekiti State have expressed dissatisfaction over the anti-grazing law recently signed by the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
The law had stated that grazing activities will only take place from 7am to 6pm daily and that herdsmen caught with arms or other weapons will be treated as terrorists.
However, Umar Imam, legal adviser to the herdsmen on Wednesday said herdsmen should be allowed to carry weapons like cutlasses, knives, catapult and arrows.
He added that the law contradicted the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.
He said, “The law of the federation on terrorism is very clear and no one can
be charged for terrorism for carrying lesser arms like cutlasses, catapults and knives during the grazing period as contained in the Ekiti new law.
“I have made it in my submission during the public hearing on the bill in the Ekiti state House of Assembly that these Fulani herdsmen used to use these lesser weapons for certain purposes that can make grazing easier.
“I also told them that movement at night while relocating from one place to another was to ensure that they don’t wreak havoc on the people during the day while relocating to other towns. I expected the state government to have taken care of these in the new law rather than total ban.
“What the state government ought to have done is to allow whoever wants to relocate at night to take permit from a certain government authority or inform their Seriki, but banning them from moving at night may not help the situation, it will make their jobs difficult.”
Seriki of the association, Alhaji Ahmadu Mahmoud, appealed to the governor to allow his members to carry lesser arms to ward off attacks during grazing.
“We agree with the governor on the grazing period of between 7am and 6pm, but we should be allowed to carry lesser arms and relocate at night.
“How can somebody who wants to carry his cattle numbering hundreds from Ekiti to places like Lokoja, Ibadan or Ilorin move during the day? These places are densely populated and it will create traffic congestion and confusion everywhere. The government must look into all of these,” he added.
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