Magnus Eze, Enugu
Despite the marginal benefit of open grazing, an international conference on open grazing and sustainable development in Africa has recommended the abolition of the practice in South East and South South in four years.
An Igbo group, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) made the recommendation in a draft it submitted on anti-open grazing bills to seven states in the South East and South South.
Participants at the two-day conference, hosted by the Department of Public Administration, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu, decried the failure to produce a working peace system that would solve the problems associated with open grazing.
A communiqué from the programme endorsed options that would promote human dignity, rather than a practice that generates violence and insecurity.
The communiqué jointly signed by Prof. Walter Ezeodili, Jude Udenta and Emma Chukwuemeka, noted that in view of the comparatively little benefit of open grazing, the practice should be abolished within a maximum of four years, to give time for a legal framework as well as other measures to address the problems.
A statement by ESUT’s Director of Public Relations, Ossy Ugwuoti, indicated that the conference also recommended “the adoption of the Indian village model, the European Paddock model or the American Ranch model, and urged the government to uphold the constitutional rights of citizens, in terms of security of life and property.”
The ADF said the draft bills were submitted to the Houses of Assembly of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as well as Rivers and Delta states.
President of the group, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, told Daily Sun, in Enugu, that the move would stop systematic and reckless grazing of cattle on cultivated agricultural lands, destruction of crops; attacks, abduction and killing of farmers; rape of their women and daughters, and in many cases, the sack and displacement of entire communities in the zones.