Senate withdraws grazing bill

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday put to bed debate on the controversial bills for the establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and another for the establishment of National Ranches Commission.

The bills – “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and for other related Matters, 2016 sponsored by Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano Central); A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of National Ranches Commission for the regulation, management, preservation and control of ranches and for connected purposes, 2026 proposed by Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) and A Bill for an Act to control the keeping and movement of cattle and related matters thereto, 2016 sponsored by Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) – were withdrawn due to disagreement on the way forward.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke on the matter said state governments were in a better position to deal with the issue.

He said, “The issues at stake here are neither in the Exclusive List nor in the Concurrent List. I believe therefore it is a Residual matter; it is for states to decide how to deal with it.

”I believe the matter here concerns everybody given the level of carnage and the conflicts going on in different states. So, I feel the concern of my colleagues, but unfortunately, we do not have power to legislate on matters relating to livestock in this Assembly.

”It is a matter reserved for the states. So, I believe that the bills by Kwankwaso, Gemade and Utazi are beyond the reach of this National Assembly and should be accordingly withdrawn so that the states under the constitution should be able to deal with the matters which the constitution has prescribe for them.”

Senate Leader Ali Ndume, while speaking on the issue said Ekweremadu raised fundamental issues that should not be ignored.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki who seemed uncomfortable with the debate on the bill suggested it be stepped down.

Following Saraki’s suggestion, Ndume promptly moved that the bills be stepped down.

The motion was adopted.

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