Edo CAN rejects grazing bill, says it portends danger
• Restrict herdsmen with laws, ex-commissioner appeals to Okowa
The Edo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday rejected a bill to establish grazing areas in the state.Addressing a press conference in Benin City, the CAN Chairman, Bishop Oyonnude Kure urged the state House of Assembly to throw away the proposal.
He said: “The bill portends a grave danger to the present and future generations. All stakeholders should come together and agree on ways to restrict open grazing in the state.” He said to create an agency to regulate grazing was against the customs of the people, as it would protect a particular ethnic group against another.
The assembly had fixed today for a public hearing on the bill titled “A Law to Establish the Edo State Control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing/Grazing Agency and other purposes connected therewith.”
According to the cleric, the bill negates the provision of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended in 2011, which provides in Section 14(2)(b) that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
He stressed that if allowed, it would deprive the indigenous communities of their choice ancestral homelands, which the government would acquire for a “preferred ethnic group.Kure cautioned that the provision in the bill that empowers the agency and its personnel to arrest any person suspected to have committed an offence is crude.
“It would make the agency too powerful and dictatorial, as it would give it the power to the arbitrary arrest of innocent Edo people on flimsy excuses due to mere suspicion,” he said.
He described as “nebulous, subjective or relative,” for the agency’s personnel not to be liable for any act committed by him in exercising his duty, or for an accused to give one-month notice before any suit could be instituted against the agency and its personnel.
Meanwhile, a former commissioner in Delta State, Raymos Guanah has urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to put laws in place to restrict nomadic cattle rearing.The ex-commissioner, who is the Chief Executive of Ratmos Guanah Farms, said the effects of herdsmen’s menace was a major setback to the productivity and success story of contemporary agriculture in the state.
According to him, the restriction was necessary not to terminate the over 4,000 metric tons that is expected from rice yields in the current planting season, He warned that the herdsmen’s activities could cause retrogression in the state’s plan to become a formidable player in the national agricultural map.
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