Bill To Ban Herders’ Movement From State To State, Restrict Ranches Scales Second Reading at Senate


Jun 6, 2024

A bill for an act to restrict the movement of herders and their cows from state to state and establish ranching, passed second reading at the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill titled, “A bill to establish a national animal husbandry and ranches commission for the regulation, management, preservation and control of ranches throughout Nigeria; and for connected purposes, 2024,” seeks to ban open grazing, and restrict herders’ movements to their states of origin.

Sponsor of the bill and senator representing Benue North-West Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Titus Zam, decried the continued rise of clashes between herders and farmers in the country.

According to Mr Zam, the bill identifies ranching as the only alternative to breed cattle in the country, stressing the urgent need to transition from traditional livestock to modern methods which are safer and healthier to both the herds and the herders.

The lawmaker further explained that the bill provides for the establishment of ranches in the herders’ state of origin without forcing it upon other states or communities that don’t have them as citizens.

He urged the Senate not to pay lip-service to the clashes between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders, as it is almost looking like a war “with far reaching negative impact on the people and country as a whole.”

“As stakeholders in the Nigeria project and elected representatives of the people, doing so would amount to abdication of our statutory and leadership responsibilities,” the lawmaker said, insisting that the menace could easily be addressed by legislatively banning open grazing, in line with international best practices of animal husbandry.

He said, “Every effort is laced with manoeuvres that speak to our ethnic and political biases or sentiments, thus resisted by the people. This 10th Senate has a date with history. We must rise in one accord to sort out this problem of herders-farmers violent conflicts that would, if allowed to linger longer, consume even more lives and property than the civil war of 1967-1970.

“Therefore, now is the time to put a permanent stop to the endless circle of attacks and counter attacks by our people and their external collaborators. Now is the time to adopt international best practices in animal husbandry. Now is the time to bring about a law to stop open grazing. It is old fashioned, hazardous, burdensome and must be discarded.’’

Mr Zam also stated that those in the business must get the approvals of their host communities to establish ranches to enhance peaceful co-existence among themselves.

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