[By CHRIS EZE, Yenagoa]
THE Bayelsa State Government has passed a law prohibiting open grazing of livestock and armed herdsmen in the state.
The government also directed that any herdsman found with arms, whether licensed or not, should be arrested.
The state governor, Douye Diri signed the bill, “Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation” into law in the Government House.
Diri said the essence of the “Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation law 2021,” is to ensure harmonious living between cattle dealers and other residents and to forestall the violent clashes experienced daily in different parts of the country.
According to him, the state has an open door policy for all and sundry to earn a legitimate living.
He said: “The people of Bayelsa desire a mutual and harmonious relationship with non-natives and natives. The essence of the law is to avert and forestall any clash between herdsmen, farmers, natives and non-natives as experienced in some states.
“From the commencement of the law, no person shall breed, rear or trade in livestock in the state except in any other place as may be designated by the committee and approved by government.”
The law, according to him, stipulates that any herdsman found with guns, whether licenced or not, should be arrested.
He also said that the law establishes a livestock management committee to regulate livestock activities in the state.
The law prohibits movement of cattle on foot from other parts of the country into the state, while making provision for inspection of livestock and certification by veterinary doctors at entry points into the state among others.
Diri said that by assenting to the law, any person found engaging in open grazing of livestock on foot commits an offence and would be arrested and prosecuted with the livestock impounded.
Members of the committee include the Commissioner for Agriculture, security agencies, youths and others.
The governor also signed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law 2021.
He explained that with its enactment, Bayelsa has domesticated the federal law, which had been in existence.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, who presented the bills for the governor’s assent, said the livestock regulation bill was to prevent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
He explained that the VAPP Bill was aimed at eliminating violence against women and ensure speedy dispensation of justice.