To tackle insecurity in the country, Senators from the southern and middle belt areas of Nigeria have started mobilising their colleagues from the core north to support the anti-open grazing bill being sponsored by a Senator from the South-West geopolitical zone.
Findings reveal that a principal officer of the upper chamber is coordinating support for the bill.
A Senator, who spoke with our correspondent on conditions of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, confirmed that the bill already had over 60 signatures of lawmakers that had agreed to be co-sponsors.
He said, “If there is a total ban on open grazing, foreigners will not enter Nigeria with cows and start moving freely to every part of the country, wreaking havoc in the process.”
The Senate had on Wednesday last week passed a resolution, urging the state governments to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
I’ve assured sponsor of my support – Moro
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Benue South, who is a former minister of Interior, Abba Moro, confirmed to our correspondent in an interview that one of his colleagues, the sponsor of the anti-open grazing bill, had sought his support.
Moro said, “I can tell you on good authority that one of my colleagues is sponsoring a bill on anti-grazing. I have assured him that I will support him and I will lend my voice to his bill.”
Similarly, the Senator representing Osun East, Francis Fadahunsi, confirmed in an interview with our correspondent on Friday that the bill was already in the Senate.
He said, “The anti-grazing bill is already in the Senate and I am fully in support of it. The foreign herdsmen are in Nigeria to cause mayhem; so, the only alternative is to stop their free movement through the proposed law.”
The Senator representing Cross River South, Gershon Bassey, also confirmed that the bill would soon be introduced to the Senate.
He said, “The bill is already in the Senate but we have a process. Just because a bill comes in doesn’t mean it will be passed the same way it is presented. Three has to be a widespread consultation before we can reach something that is agreeable to everybody.
“We need peace and we need to find a peaceful solution to move the country forward. A lot of people have suggested ranching but we need to find a way forward that is acceptable.”
Lending his support to the bill, the Senator representing Ogun West, Tolu Odebiyi, said ban on open grazing would prevent incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Senate spokesperson’s reaction
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, said, “I am not aware of any anti-grazing bill in the Senate. The Rules and Business Committee will have to list it on the order paper before it will be known to the Senate.
“It is only when it comes to the floor that I will know. As of today (Friday), I have not seen any anti-grazing bill in the Senate.”
Yewa people free to defend themselves against herders – Senator
Lagos Senator threatens joining Ogun kinsmen against killer herdsmen
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Lagos West, Solomon Adeola, said on Sunday that he would not hesitate to support the Yewa people’s agitation for self-defence if the Federal and Ogun State governments failed to protect them from constant Fulani herders’ attacks.
Adeola, who is the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance and a prominent indigene of Yewaland condemned the invasion, destruction and killings of his people by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
He said, “I will not hesitate to join my people in the defence of their rights to life, property and peaceful coexistence with others at the back of seeming failure of duly constituted authorities to defend such fundamental rights against anyone or forces.”
Herdsmen killing my people, Senator tells Buhari
Also, the Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Tolu Odebiyi, has once again, urged the President, Major General Muhammadu, (retd.), to speak up over the rising killings of innocent Nigerians by armed herdsmen.
Odebiyi stated this on Sunday when he visited communities in Ogun West Senatorial District which were currently being attacked by the rampaging herdsmen.
He lamented that several calls to the President to address the carnage, kidnappings, rape and maiming caused by the rampaging herdsmen had yielded no positive response.
He said, “It is wrong to keep quiet when herdsmen who bore arms and AK-47 are spontaneously killing our people.”
The Ogun West Senator, according to a statement by his media office, also visited the 10 persons who were critically injured at the hospital due to the horrific attack perpetrated by the herdsmen.