Northern Senators Fume As Lawmakers Move To Restrict Cattle Herders - 9jaflaver





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Northern Senators Fume As Lawmakers Move To Restrict Cattle Herders


Northern Senators Fume As Lawmakers Move To Restrict Cattle Herders

Amidst a rancorous session the Nigerian Senate passed the second reading of a bill to establish the National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission on Wednesday.

Despite heated debates the Senators voted in favour of the bill, sponsored by Senator Titus Tartenger Zam representing Benue North West which is meant to control and regulate cattle rearing ranching business across the country.

Zam told the Senate that ranching remains the only viable alternative for cattle breeding in Nigeria. He also advocated for the urgent need to transition from traditional livestock keeping methods to the modern methods which are safer and healthier to both the herds and the herders.

The bill however, met vehement rejection from Northern Lawmakers from the opposition Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Senator Adamu Aliero ( Kebbi Central) and Senator Kawu Sumaila ( Kano South) who faulted a part of the bill which specified that ranches be established in the “pastoralists state of origin without forcing it upon other states or communities that do not have pastoralists as citizens.

In his contention Aliero argued that the pastoral part of the bill is in rebellion with section 41 of the Nigerian constitution which states that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom”. Aliero also noted that ranching should be seen as private business, the government should have no hand in it.

In swift support, Senator Kawu described the bill as contradictory to the Nigerian constitution saying that it is wrong to restrict citizens of the country to a particular region.

Kawu specifically said that “they would fight the bill” a statement he withdrew and apologised after he was called to order by the Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

He said; “I am totally against this bill, you can’t make a law for a particular section of this country. Let the leadership come with something comprehensive but going by this bill it will compound the crisis“.

Disagreeing further Senator Danjuma Goje warned that the bill might stereotype the Fulanis in the country. He added that Fulanis do not enjoy Democratic dividends from the Government.

He argued; “I want to urge our colleagues to approach this issue of ranching with good faith and an open mind. These Fulanis are Nigerians, they don’t enjoy anything from the Government, they shouldn’t be thrown away just like that.

“We should encourage them not to confine them to a particular area is not good. If you go to Oyo, Ogun states we have Fulanis and they speak Yoruba”.

Despite the opposition the bill received the support of other Senators who made their contributions.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe ( Abia South) supported the second passage of the bill but cautioned that there will be a need to review the land use act pointing out that some state Governors may disagree with the creation of ranches in their states.

“It also means that we have to take another look at the land use act. You can’t set up ranches in a state if the Governors don’t want it.

“In order to do this we must go back and look at the law, if we don’t deal with the law even if you agree with the owners of the land or settlers if the state Government doesn’t give their consent you can’t go ahead.

“We must look at the land use act before we proceed with this bill. Former Governor of Kano state Abdullahi Ganduje once said that he has enough land for all herders to come and graze but some are using these herders to destabilize the country.

Minority leader of the Senate Senator Abba Moro said that the bill is in order he advised that the bill be subjected to comprehensive public hearing.

Kogi West Senator Sunday Karimi ( Kogi West )said that the bill should be passed as I will put an end to the killings all over the country as a result of persistent farmers and herders crises.

In his earlier debate, Zam said that the bill will be an antidote for the perennial violent clashes between sedentary farmers and Nomadic Herders in Nigeria.

He said “the time to adopt international best practices in animal husbandry. My distinguished colleagues, now is the time to bring about a law to stop open grazing. It is old fashioned, hazardous, burdensome and must be discarded.

“the absence of a regulatory framework or legislation on pastoralism and livestock mobility generally has created a chaotic scenario of SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders in Nigeria; my dear colleagues, this is not acceptable in 21st century civilized world!”.

Akpabio allayed sentiments raised by the opposing Senators stressing that the bill will still be subjected to public hearing before its final passage and assent in which he said all issues raised will be addressed.

“If we need to tinker with the land use act to create a clause to access to ranching also we must consider that many state governors don’t have money to go into ranching”.

Akapbio asked Senator Titus Zam if he intended to step down the bill in which he replied in negative after which Akpabio put the question to the Senators and they chorused “Aye” in favour of the bill.

The bill was subsequently referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, judicial and legal matters , trade and investment to report back in the next one Month.

Source:- Sunnewsonline






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