• Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Anti-open grazing bill passage stalled over dissenting voices in Edo assembly

Edo Assembly passes anti-open grazing bill

Heated debates and disagreements over a clause of the bill for a law to ban open grazing of cattle and regulate other livestock in Edo State stalled the consideration and subsequent passage of the bill, Tuesday.

Clause 5(7) in the bill, which stirred the debate among members of the Edo State House of Assembly, stated that a ranching committee, which would be constituted by the state governor, would be empowered to determine the size of land suitable for ranching.

Sunny Ojiezele, while considering the bill clause by clause at the committee of the whole, in Benin City, argued that leaving the committee to determine the size of land is a great risk.

Ojiezele opined that the enormous powers allocated to the committee by the bill would lead to the acquisition of more arable land for ranching.

He cited that his local government had recently lost 80 percent of arable land to a private company.

Ojiezele, thereafter, proposed an amendment to the clause to the effect that one-tenth of the total arable landmass of a community be acquired for ranching.

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Francis Okiye, member representing Esan North-East, also raised concerns over the danger inherent in clause 5 (7) of the bill, urging the house to determine a definite size and distance between two ranches.

But, Henry Okhuarobo, Majority leader of the house, proposed that the committee should determine the size of the land provided it does not exceed 20 percent of the total landmass of the local government.

Marcus Onobun, speaker of the legislative chamber, during consideration of the bill, reminded the lawmakers that the land use act, which was in operation in the state, vested the ownership of lands on the state government.

At the end of the consideration, all proposed amendments to the bill hit a brick wall as none was seconded by any of the lawmakers.

The speaker, thereafter, stepped down the consideration of the bill to allow for further consultations.