Obaseki Distances Edo Govt from Grazing Bill
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Thursday said solution to nomadic problems in the state was not contained in the Anti-Grazing Bill currently before the House of Assembly.
He made this known in Benin during a public hearing organized by assembly on the bill intended for a law to establish control for nomadic cattle rearing in the state.
Obaseki, who was represented by the Solicitor General of the state, Mr Wole Iyamu, said that the state government had “absolutely nothing’’ to do with the bill.
“If the bill had gone through the rigour that executive bills go through, it will not have generated so much controversy.
“The bill did not address the problems on ground. It fails to define who nomadic farmers are.
“The failure of the bill to define grazing can ruin the purpose of a law during litigation. The bill is supposed to outlive us if it is properly drafted.
“Land is fundamental to the people, therefore, when you begin to touch issues that concern land you need to be very careful.
“The bill did not define who designates land for ranching, because government does not own land; it only holds land in trust for the people,” he said.
The governor pointed out that there was no provision in the bill that empowered government to designate land for ranching.
“If there is a provision in the bill that empowers government to designate land for ranching, then consent of government would be sought.
“Again, the solution to the problems of nomadic cattle-rearing is not contained in the bill,’’ he stated.
In his contribution, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, Mr Oyenude Kuru, said that the bill did not represent the interest of Edo people.
Kuru noted that the grazing bill violated the Land Use Act in the state, adding that it sought to empower only the local government to allocate land for agricultural purposes.
He noted that some sections of the bill empowered and protected the herdsmen against Edo people.
Kuru, however, explained that the bill portended danger for present and future generations of the state.
Also, Chief David Edebiri, announced his representation of the Oba of Benin, but said that the monarch did not ask him to contribute to the debate but to observe the proceedings.
Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, however, expressed reservations over seeming disagreement between the executive and the legislature over the bill.
Earlier, Speaker of the assembly, Dr Justin Okonoboh, said the essence of the public hearing was to get the input of the public to bill.
Okonoboh assured that the views of the participants would be adopted holistically, in the interest of the state.
The grazing bill is a private one sponsored by Mr Bright Osayande, representing Ovia North East 11Constituency in the assembly.
Osayande is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).