Barring any unforeseen circumstances, an executive bill seeking to ban open grazing of cows and regulate the business of livestock breeding and marketing in Bayelsa State would be passed into law on Wednesday.
The chairman of the state House of Assembly Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Trade, Industry and Investment as well as Environment and Security, Mr Tonye Isenah, said this during the public hearing on the bill organised by the committee at the Assembly Complex in Yenagoa on Monday.
The public hearing followed the Assembly’s successful first and second reading of the legislative document, which is titled, ‘Livestock Breeding and Marketing Regulation Bill, 2021’, during plenary on February 24.
Isenah, a former Speaker of the House, said that Governor Douye Diri would sign the bill into law latest Friday this week after its expeditious passage on Wednesday.
He explained that the purpose of the public hearing was to get the views of other stakeholders in order to enrich and strengthen the bill to become an efficient law in the state.
Isenah, who promised that inputs made would be harnessed by the committee, said, “We want to assure Bayelsans that this week; the committee is trying to sit tomorrow (Tuesday), prepare our report and submit to the House on Wednesday.
“And that by Wednesday, it will be expeditious passed, then on Thursday or Friday, the governor should be able to sign the bill into law so that we can live as human beings.”
Among stakeholder groups that made presentations on the bill through their representatives were the cattle rearers and butchers associations, farmers and vegetable growers, civil society organisations, traditional rulers, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ijaw Youth Council and Association of Local Government of Nigeria.
The sponsor of the bill and Leader of the House, Monday-Bubou Obolo, said the bill was very essential because the state government had a constitutional duty to secure lives and property through proper legislated regulations.
He said the bill when passed into law would “prevent herders-farmers clashes and also prohibit movement of livestock on foot and possession of firearms, but will allow the using of trucks to convey livestock”.
Obolo, also a former speaker of the House, further said that the bill had proposed the establishment of a Livestock Management Committee to be chaired by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
He said, “Government has the responsibility to secure lives and property. Therefore, government has a duty to regulate livestock breeding and marketing in the state.
“Though the Constitution provides for freedom of movement, it does not include livestock. Livestock are not human beings. The bill ensures registration for permit with the committee which is empowered to impound roaming livestock and impose fees and other measures.”