Anti-Open Grazing Bill Up for Vote in Oyo State Nigeria

Anti-Open Grazing Bill Up for Vote in Oyo State Nigeria

10/10/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Open grazing has been the historical custom across Nigeria. This has meant that those who have cattle have had the right and ability to move their herds throughout Nigeria without many restrictions. Though this has led to issues between local communities and migrant herders in the past, these problems have peaked in the past decade. Due to this rise in violence and fighting between mainly Muslim herders and mainly Christian farmers, some of the Middle states have started instituting anti-open grazing bills.

The very first of these was in Benue state at the end of 2017. The law prohibits herders from moving their cows via walking through the state. They are allowed to rent land as ranches, but they are no longer allowed to openly graze anywhere they desire. This is because thousands of people were killed in fighting between the herders and farmers, with the vast majority of those killed being Christian farmers. These attacks have continued on the fringes of the state, but they have lessened significantly since the bill was instituted.

Due to this, other states further south are thinking of instituting the same legislation. This includes Oyo State who is currently deliberating the new bill. If it is passed, they may have a similar situation to Benue State. Though there is a large socio-economic factor in this fighting, there has also grown a rather large religious element as well. Many who speak on this topic wish to avoid this. However, the devastation of Christian communities and places of worship cannot be avoided. Thousands have been killed, and dozens of churches have been destroyed. Please pray for wisdom in the voting for this bill and other like it. Pray that the Nigerian government would finally give this issue the focus it needs.

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