A crusader of social justice and equality, Chief Patrick Eholor has stated that it’s high time the law and justice system of the country enforce the ban on open grazing which was done in 1969 by the renown Justice Adewale Thompson. He said state governors should as a matter of necessity enforce this law and arrest offenders, to protect their citizens and communities.
Eholor in his argument stated that it was becoming increasingly dangerous to ignore the ban, while gun wielding, killer herdsmen go about raiding communities and destroying farm products, lives and property, and even raping women and girls in order to establish fear and dread across the country.
He decried the spate of insecurity raging across the northern part of the country due to the menace of Fulani cattle grazers, which has continued to increase down in the southern part, despite the ban by the late judge.
He stated ” It is time for Nigerians to be aware that there is a ban on open grazing in this country. As far back as 1969, the renown Justice Adewale Thompson delivered a judgment which placed a ban on open grazing, and thereby made it a crime to enter farms and cause havoc to people’s crops.
“We all must be aware of our rights over this impunity, and get the Justice System to reaffirm that ban. Herdsmen must be arrested and jailed for violating that ban, and this must be done within the ambit of the law, to end the growing terrorism imposed by Fulanis upon our communities.
“For the benefit of those who do not know it, Justice Thompson on 17th April 1979, in Suit no AB/26/66 at Abeokuta Division of the High Court, made the ban and warned of unprovoked killing by Fulani herdsmen.
“His words ‘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.
‘Sequel to this,I ban 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.’
According to Eholor, “It is high time states put this law into practice and end unprovoked killings by Fulani herdsmen. 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”.