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FG Should Not Frustrate Enforcement Of Anti-Open Grazing Law-Afenifere

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September 1, a target day set aside by Governors of 17 states in the Southern part of Nigeria for the anti Grazing law, the federal government has been enjoined not to jeopardise the effective enforcement of the law.

The call was contained in a a Press Release signed by Comrade Jare Ajayi, the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere.

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According to him, as the reality begins to dawn that there would no longer be a room for allowing cows to roam about anyhow, the federal government might be tempted to want to use its might to frustrate the efforts of states governments in this regard. This, it can do, by using the police and other security agencies to undermine the enforcement of the said law’.

The spokesman however warned that doing so might be compounding the already bad security situation in the country.

It would be recalled that the 17 Southern States’ Governors at their meeting in Lagos on July 5, 2021, announced that open grazing of cattle would no longer be allowed in their respective states from September 1, 2021. The announcement was received with applause by their people but with reservation by Fulani cattle rearers.

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As the take-off date was knocking, it was clear that many states were ready to work their talks going by the way laws to give legal backing to the proclamation have been passed or are in the process of being passed.

Of course, a few, a minute few, were yet to begin the process. As reality in Nigeria has repeatedly shown however, the problem, most of the time, was not in having a legal instrument in place but in enforcing the laws. Unfortunately and regrettably, the chances of its being successfully enforced are slim because of the lopsided nature of the country’s policing system. In Nigeria today, only the Nigerian Police can investigate and prosecute a suspect in a criminal case. Since the police is under the firm control of the federal government, it is possible to use the agency to frustrate the efforts of the states in this respect. For, as reality in Nigeria has repeatedly shown, the problem, most of the time, is not just in having a legal instrument in place but in enforcing the laws.

Enforcement of the law against open grazing is made more difficult when the interest of the powerful is at stake – as is the case on this issue of open grazing of cattle. The disposition of the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari is opposed to the declaration by the Southern Governors. Therein lies the challenges of how the law can be successfully made to work as envisaged.

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It is worth recalling however that when some states in the north banned the selling and drinking of alcohol in public, they did not rely on the federally controlled Nigeria Police to enforce the law in their respective states. Rather, they set up what they called Hisbah (local police) to enforce the law. In this wise, it may not be out of place if the states concerned in the South also explore the means of ensuring the compliance of the laws they passed on grazing of cattle.

Incidentally, some states already have an instrument they could use for that purpose. By this one is referring to Amotekun in the South West and Ebube Agu in the South East. These local security networks should be allowed to enforce state laws particularly the one on open grazing. Afterall, the law against the selling and open consumption of alcohol is being enforced by Hisbah in the North. What is good for goose should be good for the gander.

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Nigeria

Funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption…Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje,Chairman Afenifere Ogun state

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The Ogun state Chairman of Afenifere,a vibrant and active social Political group,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje spoke extensively with our News medium on INEC’s demand for all candidates to declare their bank assets prior to the 2023 General elections and other concerned issues.

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In his words on INEC and Party Candidates Bank assets,he said “My first concern is what is INEC’s definition of “bank assets?” Is it just bank account balances or more than that? If its just bank account balances, I doubt what practical use such information will be to INEC.

Secondly, I wonder whether INEC has the legal authority to request candidates to declare their “bank assets”. Yes the agency is authorised to monitor campaign expenditure but does that ipso facto confer on them the power to request bank balances? I’m not so sure of that. Code of Conduct Bureau and perhaps EFCC or ICPC may have such authority but its not clear that INEC does.”

Responding to the commission’s move to establish a finance monitoring teams,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje says, “It is desirable and proper for INEC to establish mechanisms to monitor campaign finance and expenditure. The funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria have become unreasonably huge and is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption and political dysfunction. I support any lawful effort to constrain and control this issue within the ambit of the law.”

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The Ogun State Afenifere chairman emphasized that The EFCC and Deposit Money Banks have the responsibility to report suspicious financial transactions and he support leveraging this mechanism to monitor campaign finances…

“The Constitution guarantees freedom of association to all Nigerians so I can understand as many parties as possible seeking INEC registration. As a practical matter of course I recognise the operational, logistics and political difficulties inherent in having too many political parties. Nevertheless I believe every legitimate and conscientious political tendency should have the right to express themselves through a political party.”Otunba Agbaje maintained.

“I am excited at the news that youths and students top new voters registrations. I urge all youths, students, professionals, workers and indeed all Nigerians who are yet to register to do so. We can aim to register 12 million additional voters before the General Elections and take new registrations to over 20million!!! I know that’s an ambitious target but we need ambitious objectives and goals if we must reform and transform Nigeria.The Youths deserves encouragement to take up challenges and prepare for the future.

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Presently, Afenifere Social Political group is made up of very active, focused and visionary youths with their membership growing by the day,”he added

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