Abiodun OBA

 

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passed a Bill prohibiting Open Grazing of cattles in the State, just as it also passed the State’s Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill with Speaker Mudashiru Obasa directing the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, to transmit a clean copy to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.

The two Bills were passed following unanimous votes by the lawmakers after scaling through the constituionally required Third Reading.

Immediately after their passage, Speaker Obasa commended his colleagues for their passion to see that the state continues to grow.

“I Thank you all for this historic exercise,” Obasa said.

Securityreporters.com had earlier reported that the Lagos State government promised to ensure strict compliance with anti-grazing law when it finally becomes law.

Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Kehinde Joseph, made this known during a one-day public hearing organized by the state House of Assembly on the anti-open grazing bill.

The bill was entitled: “A bill for a law to Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing In Lagos State, the Trespass of Cattle Land And For Other Connected Purposes”.

Joseph said the proposed law was meant to ensure peace between herders and farmers in the state.

According to him, the bill was meant to ensure the registration of herders and prohibit cattle roaming and imposes stiffer punishment on those who carry arms to rear cattle.

“It will forestall herders-farmers clashes and redefine social and economic activities in the state.

“Members of cattle breeders association will be sensitized on the new development and we will ensure strict compliance with the law when it is passed,” he said.

On the occasion, the Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, in his keynote address, said it was important to address the issue of cattle rearing, which could affect the security of lives because it was a pointer to peaceful co-existence and other human desires.

Obasa, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the issue of cattle rearing and open grazing called for concerted efforts for stability and economic development.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Zonal Secretary for South-West, Mallam Maikudi Usman, pleaded for more time to enlighten its members to stop the practice of open grazing of cattle in Lagos State.

Usman said, “Our breeders are not used to breeding cattle in one place. They move from here to another place. When we say we will keep cattle in one place, the owner of the cattle will not have funds to feed the animals in one place.

“They have already depended on going from one place to another because in the rainy season time, we have where we settle down, and we also have for the dry season.

“We are pleading with the Lagos State government to give us more time to go tell our people and train them how they will be breeding cattle in one place and not encroach on farmers’ land.” 

According to him, the association would need the assistance of the state government if the bill must be signed into law, adding that raising a cow in one location could increase the price of a cow to two million naira.

The zonal secretary urged the state government to subsidize the cost of raising the animals in one location.

“If cattle are bred in one place, the price could go up to about two million naira each. We agreed with some local chiefs in other states that anyone who wants to rear cows in a location should register and should indicate when he is leaving.

“A Fulani man moves from one place to another to ply his trade, but we have some bad eggs that are fomenting trouble. The government should allow us to talk to our people that they don’t want our cows to destroy people’s farmlands.

“We have met with stakeholders in Ekiti, Ondo and even Oyo States and we reached agreements with them,” he said.

In his comment, the President of the Lagos State Sheep Farmers Association, Alhaji Mustapha Ibrahim, agreed that the bill was not meant to attack anybody, but all-embracing.

Ibrahim noted that land resource was very important to the state, adding that the relationship between cattle herders and farmers should be symbiotic.

He also called for legislation to promote the creation of farm estates across the state.

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