Abuja – A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo-PDP), has urged Edo Government to urgently enact a law on grazing in the state.
Agbonayinma, who made the call at the backdrop of recent invasion of schools in Edo by cattle, said that the law would check the lawlessness of herdsmen and their cattle in the state.
In one of the primary schools invaded in Egor/Ikpoba-Okha, the lawmaker’s constituency, the cattle sacked pupils from their classrooms.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the impunity with which the herdsmen invade communities in the state was unacceptable.
He said that government and people of Edo must take urgent measures to halt the menace of the cattle and their handlers.
“There should be a grazing bill to tackle the lawless parade of cows, which are chasing children from school, taking over streets, and destroying peoples’ crops and farmlands.
“It is a serious matter which demands the attention of all. This is not the first time we are seeing cows, but they have now taken to a new dimension; they now take laws into their hands.
“For God’s sake, if it is only cows that one has to eat, then, let me not eat it. You cannot deprive innocent children education because cows are struggling with them on who occupies the classrooms.
“How do you expect the children to learn? This is dehumanizing; it is unacceptable, and we must confront it by engaging them or do whatever it takes to stop the menace.’’
The lawmaker alleged that a cabal was supplying herdsmen with sophisticated weapons used in carrying out attacks on unsuspecting farming communities.
“It is not just a menace, it is criminal. The herdsmen are no longer the ones who peacefully led their cows years ago.
“Today, they are armed and I wonder how they get the arms, which now makes one wonder where the law enforcement agents are.
“To me, there are cabals behind this,’’ he said.
Agbonayinma also admonished people of Edo and other Nigerians to be security conscious and defend themselves from the menace of the herdsmen in the South-South.
According to him, we must put some preventive measures in place to curb the menace rather than allow it to fester.
“I want to appeal to the Edo people not to take the laws into their hands while I ask them to protect themselves from harm. No one has monopoly of power, violence and killings.
“These herdsmen are more than what we think; to me, they are nothing but Boko Haram, ready to cause anarchy and destabilize our communities.
“Apart from making a grazing law, we should not fold our hands and allow people to come to our homes to destroy us; everyone must be ready to defend himself.
“If the government is not ready to defend us, we, the citizen must be ready to protect ourselves,’’ he said.
The lawmaker, called on those going into rearing to “get a place for grazing as it is done overseas. This issue of parading cows on the freeway must be stopped’’.