Obaseki on Sunday banned herdsmen from operating in Odighi, Odiguetue, Owan communities and their environs in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area of the state as part of the measures to prevent attacks on farmers and other residents.
The governor also set up a special task force made up of security agencies to dislodge criminals posing as herdsmen in the communities.
But the PDP noted that while the governor’s action had vindicated the opposition party’s call for an outright ban on open grazing, he (Obaseki) had only succeeded in “postponing the evil day.”
The State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said, “This one (90-day ban) is not enough; it is just postponing the evil day. This decision is partially in tandem with our position (on anti-open grazing).
“But as usual, Governor Obaseki has not gone far enough. If Obaseki government’s position is to adopt and gradually embrace the implementation of the PDP’s proposed law, it should apply it to the entire state. Why leave out Ekpoma, Ewu, Ugboha, Ubiaja, Lampese, Ekperi, Oben and several other communities in the state that have suffered the herdsmen attack?
“We applaud government’s admission that it is their responsibility to protect lives and property. Unfortunately, they have failed woefully to discharge this constitutional responsibility to the people, despite the over N400m security votes deducted monthly.”
The PDP further argued that nothing short of an outright ban on grazing and the passing into law of the anti-open grazing bill it sent to the House of Assembly would be “effective enough to curb the incessant killings and maiming of innocent Edo people by the marauding herdsmen.”
In a statement signed by Nehikhare, the party said, “Our proposed bill will prevent the destruction of farms and farm produce as well as protect lives and property of farmers, their wives and children by open grazing. The law will also protect the environment from degradation and pollution caused by open rearing and grazing of livestock.
“It will also optimise the use of land resources in the face of overstretched land and increasing population as well as maintain a healthy food security arrangement. The law would encourage the establishment of ranches, with the permission and approval of the state government.”
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