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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

Ijaws Diaspora: Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff of Twon Brass Kingdom Seeks Collaboration to Tackle Poverty, Trafficking, Violence Against Ijaw Women

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Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiative, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP called on the Ijaws in Diaspora on the need for an effective and efficient collaboration to meet the yearning and aspirations of Ijaw women in order for them to be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life.

The Royal Queen made the call during her paper presentation on the occasion of the Ijaw Diaspora Convention held recently in New Jersey, United States of America.

Speaking on the theme: “Effective Collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora: Hope for the Ijaw Women”, Queen Josephine noted that the Ijaw woman is majestic, full of strength, beautiful, hardworking, long-suffering, compassionate and caring for her children and loved ones.

She said that the description which depicted a typical Ijaw woman as with a pan on her head, a baby wrapped on her back and her work implements in her hands, ready to provide for the family under the hot African sun and Niger Delta rain, unperturbed by the harsh experiences of life shows she is tenacious and hardworking.

She said, “Unfortunately, today, the evil of industrialization in the name of oil and gas extraction and the attendant land grab/pollution have put a lot of our women out of the traditional livelihood occupation of fishing and farming which gave them prosperity in the past thus pushing them into poverty and loss of control of the children-a basis for the numerous vices among our youths today.

According to her, Ijaw women are mostly breadwinners and the nurturers of their families, adding that their livelihood was greatly impeded by the challenging environment of the Niger Delta, which though rich in oil and income generating opportunities, same are out of the reach of the Ijaw woman.

The wife of the former Rivers State Military Governor further emphasized that Ijaw women are agents of social change, if given the opportunity, adding that a collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora will be a welcome development in changing the narrative of Ijaw Women in the livelihood scheme of survival.

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“The Ijaw woman’s means of survival are also threatened by a growing trend of farm produce theft and flooding. Added to her woes are kidnapping, herder invasion, and early widowhood, leading to loss of socio-economic subsistence. She also suffers from the attendant factors of poverty increased by lack of education, susceptibility to violence, cultism, health challenges, underage motherhood, in addition to some harmful traditional practices. The list is endless.”

Proposing avenues which require effective partnership, Queen Josephine called on the Ijaw Diaspora to collaborate with Ijaw women in homeland in areas of Interventions in Violence and Ill-Treatment Against Ijaw Women, Ijaw Women/Girl Child Education, Ijaw Women Empowerment, Encouraging Ijaw Women to Participate in Politics and take up Leadership Positions.

“It’s undeniable that the Ijaw Diaspora has assets for collaboration due to their international exposure, international contacts, financial resources, human and mental resources that override the economic capabilities of their counterparts in the homeland. Therefore, they can offer training, assist in primary healthcare, provide resources and partner with the Ijaw women in their homeland.

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“Collaboration with the Ijaw diaspora will be impossible without a formidable platform for operational collaboration and communication. One, therefore, recommends the creation of a most needed platform for efficient synergy between Ijaw diaspora and Ijaw women at home.

“So that the local Ijaw women can be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life. For every Ijaw woman to fulfil the requirements of her heart and be free from any form of oppression, she needs to be liberated and confident in herself. Her desired accomplishment in life is a sine qua non for the benefit of the Ijaw ethnic nationality”, she stressed.

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