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Law On Grazing, Illegal Cattle Rearing Underway In Enugu




Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

The process of criminalizing illegal gracing in Enugu commenced on Thursday, as the state Lawmakers, began a three-day public hearing on the law prohibiting illegal cattle rearing in the State.

The bill entitled: “A Law To Make Provisions For The Control Of Normadic Cattle Rearing In Enugu State And Other Matters Related Thereto” was sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and member representing Nsukka East Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Nwamba.

1322330960_life_sudanThe law if passed is aimed at providing grazing reserve for cattle rearers in all the 17 local council areas  of the State.

Declaring the public hearing open, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odo, explained that the bill was not being targeted at any section of the country but aimed at promoting peace, mutual cooperation and security in the State.

The Speaker, who was represented by the Leader of the House, Hon. Sunday Ude-Okoye expressed hope that the bill when passed into law, would bring an end to clashes between cattle rearers and farmers in the State.

While calling on all stakeholders to take the opportunity of the public hearing to make their input, he said, “I want to assure everybody that this bill is not meant for any section of the country; it is not meant for any tribe or any clan.

“The motive is not against any tribe in this country. It is solely meant to control normadic cattle rearing in Enugu State and all of us know that people from all parts of the country are involved in cattle rearing. Down here, our people rear our own specie of cattle, so they are equally involved.

“This bill is not against the Hausas or the Fulanis; that is why we have called all the stakeholders so that we discuss, get your input before we the bill is passed.

“We are all witnesses to the reports we get on daily basis on the menace of cattle rearers; some of them are said to be involved in robbery, raping of women and sorts of crime; they equally use the cattle to cause obstruction on the high ways and in such cases one will be left to wonder the grass they are looking for in the high way” explained Ude – Okoye.

He added that based on the above reasons, the bill was necessary to protect lives and properties in the State.

In his speech, the sponsor of the bill Hon. Nwamba expressed confidence that the bill when passed into law would promote peace, provide job opportunities as well an avenue for industrial revolution.

The law maker, noted that apart from security implications of taking cattle from place to place, the health implications were enormous.

“Ebola Virus Disease came from animals, if we can’t control animals, they can transport diseases from one place to another; we are not saying we don’t want cattle rearing in Enugu State, but it has to be regulated”, Nwamba clarified.

The Joint Chairman of the Committees on Rural Development, Chieftaincy Matters, Judiciary and Public Petition, Hon. Chinedu Ogili, who presided over the public hearing, in his remarks said the three days were approved to ensure extensive deliberations before the bill was passed into law.

Scores of stakeholders, including traditional rulers, town unions, Hausa and Fulani communities, Civil Society Groups, Agricultural institutions, in their presentations, lauded the initiator of the bill, which according to them if passed, would usher in a lasting peace, as well as transform cattle rearing business in the state.

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