By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Civil liberties organisation (CLO) has described position by the 17 South South Governors in Nigeria banning open cattle grazing in their various states as commendable.
In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Civil liberties organisation (CLO) in Akwa Ibom State issued in Uyo on Monday, Franklin Isong and Christopher Ekpo respectively, urged the respective Governors in the region to follow up their decision by forwarding Bills to their respective Houses of Assembly to that effect
To further give teeth to the resolution, the CLO called on Akwa Ibom State Government to address the demands made by Parliament Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) without delay in order to end the current strike by the association that has crippled the activities in the State House of Assembly.
The demand according to CLO, has the backing of section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“This is with a view to enabling the State to send a Bill to the House of Assembly for a Law to prohibit open grazing in Akwa Ibom. CLO also urges the Governor of Akwa Ibom State to establish Ranches in the 31 local government areas of the State for cattle and other livestock.
“CLO is of the view that if the Government of Akwa Ibom State had been proactive and had the political will to push through an Anti-Open Grazing Bill, which was nipped at its second hearing in the State House of Assembly in 2017, Akwa Ibom State would not only have been safer, but would have, in addition, been a reference point for other States and, indeed, the entire country in the face of the current spate of insecurity caused by herder/farmer conflicts”, CLO further stated.
The Organisation lauded the foresightedness of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in its proactive approach to tackling insecurity in the state by coming up with Bills meant to address the challenge.
These according to CLO include Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Bill, 2019; Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund (AKYDF) Bill; the Akwa Ibom State Security Trust Fund Bill, 2019; Akwa Ibom State Vigilante Groups (Registration) Bill, 2020; and Akwa Ibom State Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, 2020.
But the CLO which noted, however, that none of these Bills has been enacted into Law, urge Governor Udom Emmanuel and the House of Assembly to revisit these Bills in the interest of the State.
It expressed optimism that if passed into Law, will enhance the security architecture of the State and facilitate the creation of employment opportunities to alleviate the worrisome level of youth unemployment in the State.