Grazing Reserves Bill Passes First Reading In Senate

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By Nuel Suji – The controversial bill seeking to establish National Grazing Reserves for pastoralists in the country has passed first reading at the Senate.

A herd of cattles

Senate began the consideration of the bill on Wednesday after initial denial of the existence of it by its leadership.

There had been intense opposition from Nigerians especially southerners who argued the bill was meant to empower government to take private land through the back door and hand same to herdsmen who are mainly of Fulani extraction.

National Leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organization was first to criticize the bill, in a letter where he urged southern federal lawmakers to reject the bill.

The bill sponsored by Rabiu Kwankwoso, a former Governor who represents Kano Central Senatorial District has reached the committee stage in the House of Representatives.

The bill if passed into law would empower the federal government to confiscate any land in any part of the country and designate such as grazing area after paying compensation to its owner.

Abia State Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who is one of the senators opposed to the bill, on Wednesday said the legislation was “dead on arrival”.

Mr. Abaribe had in April kicked against the bill and sought to confirm whether it was indeed before the senate.

But the senate president, Bukola Saraki, at the time, denied the existence of such bill.

The bill came amid recent spate of clashes between herdsmen and farmers mostly in southern and central parts of the country.

Many Nigerians are opposed to any plan to create grazing reserves in the middle and southern parts of the country.

 

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