By IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
The House of Representatives has urged the National Security Council, to rescind its call on states to suspend anti-open grazing laws.
The House has also summoned the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, who made the announcement, to appear before it on Thursday, for an interaction over the proposal, as it urged the executive arm of the federal government to propose a supplementary budget for the National Assembly’s approval, to develop cattle colonies in the states that have made lands available.
This followed a motion by Hon. John Dyegh, moved under matters of urgent public importance, lamenting that for over seven years running, the clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers has been on the increase, with so many lives lost…and resultant effect of farmers abandoning their ancestral homes to lie in camps as refugees.
He said Benue State where he is from introduced the anti-open grazing law, following the Agatu killings which left a record 800 persons dead, and over 20 villages destroyed, after which citizens wanted the promulgation of law to restrict open cattle grazing as a permanent solution.
He said “the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in section 4(7) gives express powers to the states Assemblies to make laws for the good governance of the states.
“This is not the only state (Benue) that has made laws for good governance… For instance, we have seen states making laws against trading in alcohol and prostitution and such laws are obeyed by visitors and indigenes alike without interferences by the Federal Government.
“Unless there is no more rule of law in this country, that Nigeria as a Federation with federating units as states, it is totally wrong given the tenets of democracy for the federal government to dabble into the affairs of the states, ignoring the laws of the land in such a manner as this, more as the Land Use Act has given power over lands to governors”.