The Anambra State House of Assembly yesterday being Thursday the 30th day September 2021 held a one-day public hearing on a Bill for a Law on Open Grazing of Cattle and other Livestock Prohibition and Ranches Establishment at the Conference Hall, Government House Awka.
On his opening remarks at the event of the hearing, House of Assembly Speaker, *Hon. Uche Okafor* said the House, decided to subject the bill to proper public scrutiny given its sensitive nature.
According to the Speaker, the public hearing was important, because, Open grazing of Cattle with its associated problems has generated a lot of interest and concern in the country with the Southern Nigeria Governors resolving that a bill prohibiting open grazing be passed by all of its member states.
Hon. Okafor said it is the expectation of the house that the public hearing would elicit expert opinion and the resultant law would serve the best interest of all.
Chinedu Asuzu ,the Convener Of Good Governance Ministry in his presentation to the house said that the Bill is the State Bill and should exclude federal agencies in the Enforcement. Mr Asuzu insisted that Federal Agency like DSS has no business with the bill and advice the House to create a special task force with local content to enforce the law making reference to the regional security – ebubeagu or Local vigilantes in the State. Many other Speakers supported Mr Asuzu position on the issue of enforcement.
Also Professor Jaja Nwanagbo, a consultant to the house on legislative matters, said that the bill is not an anti-herders bill, rather it is a bill to regulate movement of herders and ranching for development of agriculture and improved economy of the state.
Speaking further ,Damian Okeke-Ogene, National Vice President of Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide, said that open grazing was banned in Igbo land in the 1980s when it was discovered that the animals destroyed people’s crops.
He said that the Igbos have been practicing ranching and described the re-opening of grazing issue in Igbo land as unnecessary.
“Open cattle rearing has not aided economic development or growth of the agricultural sector in Anambra, we want open grazing banned for peace and economic growth he said.
He further stated that “Foreign herders have invaded our land and tore the good relationship we had with the cattle rearers of the old, those Hausa born in Anambra are doing peaceful businesses here. It is the foreigners that are our problems.
Gidado Siddiki, Anambra State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, said the group is open to any legislative resolutions reached by the house. He said that the group is not against any legislation banning open grazing but appealed that more time be given for some period of incubation for the rearers to work out ways to embrace a modern system of cattle breeding.
*Alhaji Siddiki* commended the house for its effort to ensure sustainable security and safety of lives, property and business in Anambra.
A lot of dignitaries attended the event including Air vice Marshall Ben Chiobi, Reps of Nigeria Unions of Journalists, Nigeria farmers etc.