Senate Suspends Grazing, Ranches Bills’ Passage

Senate has stepped down the second reading of three bills on cattle rearing in the country.

They are ‘A Bill for An Act to Provide for the Establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and For Other Related Matters 2016’ sponsored by Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano-Central) and ‘A Bill for An Act to Provide for the Establishment of National Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation and Control of Ranches and for Connected Purposes 2016 sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade
(Benue North-East).

The third is ‘A Bill for An Act to Control the Keeping and Movement of Cattle in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters Thereto 2016’ sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu-North).

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who raised a point of order when the lawmakers began to treat the bills during Wednesday’s plenary, pointed out that the Senate lacked the powers to deal with matters that are on the Concurrent List, except on the Exclusive List.

The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, also supported Ekweremadu’s point.

Read More:

Ekiti Court Sentences Herdsman To Two Years Imprisonment For Grazing

A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti has sentenced one Ali Haruna to two years imprisonment for taking his cows for grazing in a farmland and destroying crops.

The Magistrate, Idowu Ayenimo, in his judgement, said the accused was arraigned in his court on Jan 22, 2016 over a two-count charge of wilful and unlawful damage of farm crops at Ago Aduloju in Ado-Ekiti.

The 18-year-old Haruna was confirmed by the four prosecuting witnesses to have been caught in the midnight grazing his cow in the farm belonging to Abdulahi Yaho and Bello Mohammed.

The cash crops said to have destroyed by the cows in the farm included cassava, maize, okro and pepper, all valued at N3 million.

In his defence, the defendant had told the court that the owner of the cows lived in Ilorin, Kwara.

The magistrate said that the court did not believe Haruna’s defence as it was not credible.

He held that the police prosecutor, Mr Olasunkanmi Bankole, had proved his case beyond reasonable doubt.

He thereby convicted the defendant as charged without option of fine.

The magistrate ordered that sentence should run concurrently, explaining that the term was minimal because the offence was committed before the Grazing Law was promulgated in the state.

The defence counsel, Mr Chris Omokhafe, had prayed the court to be liberal in the dispensation of justice, saying that he was a first offender.

Credit: NAN

We Won’t Force Land Owners To Surrender Them For Grazing– FG

The Federal Government at the weekend said that it would neither force people to surrender land nor seize anybody’s land for grazing purposes in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said this when he received in audience a delegation from Oyo State Government led by the Special Adviser on Projects to Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, in his office. Specifically, the minister stressed that government was not going to seize anybody’s land or force people to surrender land for ranches, disclosing that about 6,000 applicants had so far indicated interests in cattle breeding improvement programme in the country.
This is even as he explained that the focus of the present administration was on the sustainable development of agriculture to save the country from the present economic woes and assured that the Federal Government would continue to develop a strong partnership with state governments. Ogbeh also assured Oyo State Government of President Buhari-led administration’s support in the state’s efforts to optimally develop its agricultural potentials, while urging the state government to leverage on the abundant rainfall in the state to develop ranches for the cattle breeding improvement programme.
He said: “I think ranching is something that can be controlled and it is something that can be carried out in Oyo State by farmers who want to do so and for that we can give some supports”. The minister also advised the state government to expand its cocoa production with the newly improved variety of cocoa with 18 months maturity date, noting that Nigeria, being one of the leading countries in cocoa production after Ivory Coast and Ghana, should take its rightful position. According to him, the FMARD has mapped out various initiatives and programmes such as the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) project to support state governments, thereby creating jobs and wealth for mostly women and the youths across the country.
Ogbeh explained further that Oyo State, being the hub of poultry business in West Africa, should intensify efforts in expanding the business frontiers to take advantage of opportunities of the implementation of the school feeding programme, which would require a child eating 2 to 3 eggs per week, to boost the state’s economy.
On Federal Government’s plans to enhance agriculture nationwide, the minister said that the Buhari-led government would collaborate with state governments to expand the irrigation systems, noting that Kano and Oyo states, given the fact that they have the highest numbers of dams would benefit maximally from the irrigation projects.

Credit: NationalMirror

Jang, Rep Kick Against Grazing Reserve In Plateau

Immediate past governor of Plateau State and senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah Jang, has described the issue of grazing reserve as irrelevant and one that portends grave danger to people of the state.
He therefore asked the Governor Simon Lalong to do away with the policy in the interest of people of the state.
Lalong had earlier endorsed the policy and had already concluded plans to introduce grazing reserves for herdsmen in some designated areas in the state. But in a statement issued yesterday in Jos by his aide, Comrade Clinton Garba, Jang noted that the issue has generated a lot of controversy amongst Plateau people because the government of the day had decided to play politics with issues that affect the very fabric that defines the people’s heritage, culture and their land.
He urged Plateau people to rise against any subtle attempt or otherwise, to cede their land for the purpose of satisfying the selfish and egotistical whims of a few who are hell bent on disturbing the peace.
The former governor, who berated the All Progressive Congress, APC led administration in the state for non-performance, wondered how a government which he said had not shown any interest in developing agriculture in the state in the last one year, had suddenly awoken to support a policy that is neither in the interest of Plateau people nor to the public good, except for “the outrageous contract to supply fertiliser which farmers are yet to receive.”
Jang added: “For the Federal Government which owns no cattle, to connive with willing state governors to impose a grazing reserve policy on hapless citizens who have suffered the brunt of rampaging herdsmen in the no distant past, is not only abuse of their rights but an assault on their already battered psyche.
This must be vehemently resisted.” Jang said his position on grazing reserve policy remains the same both on the floor of the senate and at any other forum that Plateau people have not land to cede the federal government or any group for grazing.
“As a people, who have experienced the atrocities of those who seek to take over their land by whatever means, Plateau people must be resilient in rejecting any law or request that seeks to tamper with their heritage, not even the involvement of the government of the day should deter them,” he warned.
He therefore called on the people to “rise up against any subtle attempt or otherwise to cede their land for the purpose of satisfying the selfish and egotistical whims of a few who are hell bent on disturbing the peace of the state.”
Also, member representing Barki Ladi/Riyom federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Istifanus Gyang in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Chuwang Dungs, cautioned Lalong against taking actions that would be regretted in the long run, noting that its aftermath could plunge the state into crisis.
He warned that no portion of lands within his constituency should be gazetted for such grazing plan because his people vehemently disagree with it.

Credit: NationalMirror

Afenifere Rejects Grazing Commission Bill

Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, has rejected the Grazing Commission Bill proposed by the National Assembly to address the burning issue of farmers and Fulani herdsmen clashes erupting in different parts of the country.

Afenifere described the bill as “anti-people.”

The bill proposes the establishment of the National Grazing Commission which will preserve and control the national grazing reserves and livestock routes and other matters related to it.

The group’s leader, Reuben Fasoranti, while addressing journalists in Akure, said the bill, which empowered the commission to acquire any land anywhere in the country, would violate the subsisting Land Use Act and traditional means of land holding if enacted.

He noted that the bill was being proposed allegedly to favour the business of the Fulani herdsmen at the expense of the farmers whose farms were always destroyed by the Fulani’s cows in some other parts of the country .

” We reject any law that would rob the citizens of their possessions and award to another set of citizens as this offensive bill attempts to do. That is against the principle of natural justice, ” Mr. Fasoranti declared.

“It is also against federal principle for the government of the federation to therefore want to violate the rights of other sections of the country to please a group from an ethnic unit over and above the interest of other over 400 ethnic groups. ”

He called on all federal lawmakers from the south and Nigerians in general to join Afenifere in rejecting the bill.

Credit: PremiumTimes