By: Ifeanyi Okonkwo,
A Bill for a Law to provide for the Control, Movement and Grazing of Livestock and other matters connected there-in in Anambra State has passed its second reading in the State’s House of Assembly.
The Honourable Members of the House, at a plenary last week, deliberated on the matter and two weeks was given to the House Committee on Agriculture, to make further consultations.
Chief sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Charles Chukwuma Ezani representing Anaocha 2 said, “Ranching should be the only option for cattle herders in the state. The free movement of herdsmen in the state is totally unacceptable and the need for a law to regulate and check mate the activities of cattle herders is important”.
The Member called on his fellow Legislators to support the passage of the Bill because, it would be in the interest of the government, Anamberians and the cattle herders also.
In support of the motion, Hon Uche Okafor, Member representing Ayamelum Constituency said, “My constituency is among those that have suffered the menace of herdsmen attacks. Open grazing should not be allowed in the state because, it has caused us more harm than good. Not only to Ndi-anambra but to the whole country”.
Hon. Okafor went further to say, “Herdsmen, have become an agent of disintegration to the nation. Destruction of life and property has become the other of the day. Cattle's are been allowed to destroy peoples farms and plants, which have resulted to clashes that has claimed many lives”.
“So many people cannot feed or send their children to school because, their source of income and livelihood have been destroyed. People toil from January to December and all of a sudden, there hopes are dashed by Fulani herdsmen”, He added.
On his part, Hon. Timothy Ifedioramma, Member representing, Njikoka 1, while speaking in support of the Bill said, “This Bill is very important because, it will be legitimate and would have a law against cattle rearing”.
Hon. Ifedioramma used Ekiti state as an example of a state that has such Bill in place. He expressed shock over the revenue cattle herders generate and suggested that a means to be generating revenue from cattle business.
The House Majority leader, Hon. Victor Jidefor Okoye, Member representing Anambra West said, “The need for a Law to checkmate the activities of cattle herders has become needful and will assist the security agencies in fighting Law breakers. Without a law against these activities, herdsmen cannot be penalized for causing problem(s)”.
While fielding answers to questions from journalists, Chief sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Charles Chukwuma Ezani, further shed more light by saying, “Anambra state averagely in a month loses about 15 Billion naira from cattle business because, they do not pay tax to the government. They are not registered and by so, cannot be identified. With this Bill, we are saying no. They must pay taxes!”
“Only in December, a cow was sold for a minimum of one hundred and fifty thousand naira and if you multiply it by the number of cows sold, you will discover that this cattle herders and the owners are multi-billionaires”.
“This Bill is saying that, they must follow due process if they must continue business in the state. They must collect work permit from the ministry in-charge, just like any other business is registered and its owners known”.
“By way of this Bill, our lives will be protected. All businesses must be controlled and taxes must be paid. Anamberians all over the world are Law abiding citizens. There businesses are registered and they pay taxes”. The Honourable Member emphasized.