Igbo group, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), has commended the Enugu State Government and the State House of Assembly for taking “proper steps to ban open grazing of cattle in the state through legislation.”
The ADF which gave commendation in a statement by its spokesman, Chief Abia Onyike, on Monday, noted that anti-open grazing bill has gone through second reading in Enugu State House of Assembly, while calling on other states in the region to emulate the state.
The ADF observed that the Katsina State government had also banned open grazing, while calling on traditional rulers in various communities in the east to invoke customary laws of their people to defend them based on their fundamental natural and human rights.
“ADF equally notes that the recent banning of open grazing by Katsina Emirate Council, which was in accordance with customary laws should be emulated by Communities in Igboland. The Communities should wake up and apply their customary laws to secure their lands, economic crops and natural resources,” the statement added.
“Since some state governments have decided not to use legislative means to ban open grazing of cattle in their states, Traditional Rulers and Town Union leaders should invoke the customary laws of their people, to defend them based on their fundamental natural and human rights.”
Onyike further noted that, “The people in the Communities have the right to organize farming and other activities to feed and sustain themselves and the right to protect the modalities of such activities.
“Under customary law, Igbo Communities which are mainly agricultural Communities have well recognised rules/laws to protect their Communities. For example, their domestic animals are tettered with rope and are not allowed to roam about and graze on people’s crops. They are kept in pens and fed. Ocassionally, they are taken out, tied with ropes and taken to uncultivated forests where they can chew fresh grass.
“When the domestic animals stray to destroy other people’s farms, they are caught and sold off to pay for the crops eaten or destroyed.
“The application of these customary laws does not depend on state or federal laws. They are the natural laws of the Communities.”