Northern Law Criminalizes Open Grazing, Bans Herdsmen From Carrying Arms – Senate

Following measures to ensure security across the country, the Senate spokesperson, Dr. Ajibola Basiru has stated that there was no law on grazing routes in any part of Nigeria, adding that the 1999 Constitution actually criminalised open grazing.

 According to him,“The Grazing Reserves Laws in some states created from the former Northern Region of Nigeria are deemed to be state laws by Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

He added that, “They have been adopted from the Grazing Reserve Law of Northern Region of Nigeria (NN Law of 1965), including CAP 3 Laws of Kwara State, CAP 56 Laws of Bauchi State and CAP 55 Laws of Katsina State. On the case of these laws, it was expressly stated that they were adopted from northern Nigeria Laws of 1965. There is no provision for grazing routes as it is being claimed.’

He Disclosed that, “There has never been a federal legislation on Grazing Reserves and/or Grazing Routes in Nigeria, and northern region laws are not applicable everywhere in Nigeria. In fact, by the present constitutional provisions, such law cannot be within the competence of the National Assembly.”

Basiru also made it known that, “However, what is “trade route” was not defined in the law and there is no other reference to the term “trade route” in the law. Under those laws, animals are only allowed to graze in the grazing reserve or “trade route”.”

He stressed that, “Section 40 of the law also prohibits possessing, carrying or using for any purpose any fire arms or other weapons for other purposes in the grazing areas. There is also provision for constitution for local government grazing reserve in the law.”

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Esther Ifeoluwa

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