By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
A bill for a law to prohibit and abolish open and nomadic cattle and other livestock grazing and rearing in Anambra State, has passed through second reading on the floor of the Anambra State House of Assembly.
The motion was moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Nnamdi Okafor and seconded by the Member representing Dunukofia State Constituency, Hon Lawrence Ezeudu.
Describing the bill as apt, Hon Okafor regretted that a lot of farm products have been destroyed, even as farmers have been displaced, not only from their farmlands but also from their homes in the rural areas.
He said, “Mr Speaker, we have for the past seven years been hearing about open grazing of cattle in the state, and you can recall in your constituency and in various parts of the constituencies, where there are crisis between the herders and the farmers.
“A lot of our farm produce were destroyed. Even some of the farmers have been displaced, not only from their farmlands but also from their homes in the rural areas.
“This open grazing has caused a lot of problem, not just in our state, but in other parts of the country; it has come to a point, where such a bill will scale through a second reading is apt.”
Speaking during the plenary session, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Uche Okafor, moved for the passage of the bill, while the lawmakers unanimously adopted it through voice vote.
“This bill is what concerns everyone at this moment, in as much as it borders on economic development, food security and security of lives and property.
“It is important that we give it accelerated hearing”, the Speaker said.
He referred the bill to the House Committee on Agriculture for normal legislative work.
The committee was given one week to submit its report, after it must have organised a public hearing involving stakeholders.
Other lawmakers that spoke in favour of the bill include, Mr Timothy Ifedioranma (Njikoka 1 constituency), Mr Chuka Ezenwune (Idemili South), Mr. Pete Ibida(Njikoka 11), Mr Nonso Okafor (Nnewi North), Mr Ejike Okechukwu(Anaocha 11), and Mr Patrick Udoba representing Anambra West.
Others are Mr Emmanuel Nwafor representing Orumba South, Mr. Paschal Agbodike (Deputy Speaker), Mr Charles Obimma (Oyi), Mr Uzoma Eli (Onitsha South 1), Mr Obinna Emenaka(Anambra East), Mr Emeka Aforka(Orumba North) and Mr Pius Okoye representing Awka South 11 constituency.
They opposed open grazing of cattle and other livestock grazing, saying that the bill would remove the entire menace being experienced.
While saying that the law if passed will check the spread of diseases, the lawmakers stressed that if ranches are established, epidemics can be traced to a particular ranch from where the disease has broken out.”