Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill for a law to prohibit and abolish open and nomadic Cattle and other livestock grazing and rearing in Anambra State, to establish Cattle and other livestock Ranches in the state.
The passage was made on Tuesday, immediately after it scaled through the third reading.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the State Assembly two weeks ago held a public hearing on the bill, during which the umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen. The Miyetti Allah had asked for a five-month extension to enable them to make input on the bill and also to enable their members to get used to the modern means of grazing.
The passage of the bill followed consideration of the report of public hearing presented by the chairman of the House committee, Honourable John Nwokoye (Awka North State Constituency).
Nigerian Tribune also gathered that the bill provides that a person or group of persons shall not, after the commencement of this law, engage in open nomadic livestock herding or grazing in any part of the state whether day or night outside the permitted ranches.
It will also provide that any person or group of persons, who contravenes sub-section one of this section commits an offence and shall, on summary conviction, be liable to two years’ imprisonment or two hundred and fifty thousand naira fine or both.
Where such contraventions cause damage to farm crops or property of any person the owner or manager of such livestock shall after evaluation of the damage by the management committee, pay the current monetary value of the farm crops or property damage to the owner.
The Bill outlined the procedure for establishment of a ranch, ownership of ranch by indigenes, status and revocation of lease and ranching permit, the establishment of livestock special task force, establishment and membership of the local government advisory committee among others.
Speaker of the House, Right Honourable Uche Okafor, commended the house for painstakingly passing the bill and read out the bill for passage, while the lawmakers supported it through a voice vote.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the passage of the bill, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Nwokoye, said the bill is expected to forestall farmers/herders clashes as well as stop the killing and raping of women by herdsmen.
He stressed that the people of the State have been clamouring for the law for a long time.
He added that it will benefit both indigenes and non-indigenes alike.
He assured the public that Governor Willie Obiano will not waste time in accenting the law.
Speaking also on the anti-grazing bill, the member representing Oyi Constituency, Honourable Charles Obimma noted that the bill is not intended to wit hunt anybody but to arrest open grazing and promote modern ways of ranching in Anambra State.