Fulani herders in Oyo State have dragged the Oyo State Government and the state House of Assembly to a state High Court over the recently passed anti-open grazing law.
The herdsmen in their argument maintained that the law is a gross violation of their fundamental rights.
The herders, under the auspices of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, also joined the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state in the suit.
Slim Xclusive gathered that State House of Assembly had last year passed the bill into law, with the aim of sanitizing herding and ending farmer-herder clashes in the state.
At a public hearing organized by the Assembly, the Fulani herdsmen kicked against the bill. The Fulani herders faulted the move at the time.
But the House of Assembly insisted that the law was not aimed at frustrating their business but to create a sound platform for peaceful co-existence among residents and also make it easy to identify intruding herders who are believed to wreak havoc every time they find their way into the state.
The Assembly few hours after the Court threat passed the bill into law.
The law makes it compulsory for herders to register with the government. Identity cards are issued with their personal details fully captured for full identification and tracing for crime control.
When signed by the state Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, the law provides that herdsmen found engaging in open grazing risk five years jail term or N500,000 fine or both.
But the Fulani herders in the suit marked M/744/2019 want the court to declare the law illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
They also prayed the court to grant them an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the “respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise from carrying out any acts or omission which is likely to aid the enactment or even enact or pass the purported anti grazing bill into law as this would amount to a denial of their fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution of Nigeria”.
They also want the court to declare the law as a coordinated attempt or strategy at curtailing their livelihood and frustrating their lives which they interpret as a breach of, particularly Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended.