Legal Nigeria

’21-year jail term for firearm possession’ — inside Lagos’ anti-open grazing bill

’21-year jail term for firearm possession’ — inside Lagos’ anti-open grazing bill

by Idris Shehu 

The anti-open grazing bill passed the second reading at the Lagos state house of assembly on Monday. 

At the plenary session, Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the house, said the bill will ensure a harmonious relationship between herders and farmers in the state when it becomes law.

On Wednesday, the bill was discussed at a public hearing at the Lagos assembly pavilion and different groups were present to air their views.

N50,000 fine per head of cattle for grazing on another person’s land

According to section 2 (1) of the bill: “Any person that owns or is in control of cattle and causes or permits such cattle to graze on any land that does not belong to the owner of the cattle, or is not within an area designated for cattle grazing, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to payment of a fine of fifty thousand Naira (N50,000) per head of cattle and payment for the costs incurred for impounding, transporting and maintaining the cattle by the order of the court.”

Impounded cattle must be claimed with seven days or owner risks permanent forfeiture

Section 2 (2) and (3) states that “any person that owns or is in control of such impounded cattle must claim them before the expiration of seven days from the day the cattle were impounded or be liable to permanent forfeiture of such cattle by order of the court. All unclaimed cattle under subsection two (2) of this section shall be publicly auctioned”.

Grazing in an enclosed land must be approved by ministry of agriculture

Section 3 (1) and (2) says: “Any person that owns or is in control of cattle shall not cause or permit such cattle to graze in an enclosed land, without obtaining approval from the ministries of environment and agriculture. Such approval shall not be granted where the enclosed land is within a residential area.”

21 years imprisonment for firearm possession

Section 4 (1) and (2) states that “any person found to be in possession of firearms while herding cattle commits an offence and is liable on conviction to twenty-one (21) years imprisonment.

“Any person found to be in possession of a dangerous weapon or object, with intent to wound or cause grievous bodily harm to another person while herding cattle commits an offence and is liable on conviction to seven (7) years imprisonment”.

Establishment of task force on cattle trespass

Section 7 provides that the state will establish a task force on cattle trespass for the purpose of law enforcement.Advertisement

“The task force shall have units located in every cattle pound established within the state,” the section reads.

“The task force shall have the power to collaborate with the commissioner of police concerning the prohibition of open cattle grazing within the state.

“The task force shall be comprised of officers from the ministry of agriculture and law enforcement agents within the state.

“The task force may co-opt persons from within the community that the task force is located in, to work with the task force.”

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