Anti-Open Grazing Bill’s Public Hearing: Delta Women in Agriculture make case for safe farming environment

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“Delta Women want an environment that is safe for them to carry on their farming activities.”

This was the submission and plea yesterday, Monday July 26, 2021 of Mrs Rebecca Isagbah, leader of Women in Agriculture in Delta at the Delta State House of Assembly Public Hearing On A Bill For A Law To Provide for The Regulation of Livestock Breeding, Ranching And Marketing And To Prohibit Open Grazing And Related Matters, otherwise called anti-open grazing bill before the Assembly’s joint Committee on Special Bills and Agriculture and Natural Resources headed by Hon (Mrs) Pat Ajudua, Chairman and Hon. Austin Chikezie, co-chairman.

Mrs. Isagbah said the activities of the herdsmen had become dangerous to farmers, bringing fears to particularly women who have had recurring unspeakable negative experiences in the hands of herdsmen who rape, maim, kill and kidnap their victims in the farms and the destruction of their crops and produce.

She pointed out that the situation was precarious as it has the potential of bring about food scarcity in the state and in the country if not checked.

Mrs. Isagba, therefore commended the bill as good and for the right purpose.

Many stakeholders attended the public hearing where they submitted memorandum stating their positions and suggestions.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in its submission made by the permanent secretary, Mr. Ben Agama among the several suggestions expressed support for the proposed law with a suggestion that the definition of livestock should include Donkeys.

Meanwhile, members of the Committee observed that the Ministry’s submission was not signed and noted also the absence of the Commissioner, who was reported to have gone for a chieftaincy title engagement, with committee members wondering it that event was more important than attending the public hearing. Mr. Agama was told to ensure that the ministry’s memorandum was signed and submitted to the secretariat of the committee.

The Ministry of Environment was represented by the Permanent Secretary, dr. (Mrs) Oseji suggested that there is need for a unit of environmental health of the public in the being established in the ranch and the sanitation and waste management department.

The Ministry of Justice, represented by the functioning Solicitor General, Barrister Umamuzo in its submissions and recommendations said among others that there should be a task force set up to enforce the law in aech local government of the state.

Umamuzo also said that the issue of offensive weapons should not be limited to the prohibition of only carrying of firearms, but should include the prohibition of carrying of machetes, daggers, bows, arrows, etc as each of these constitute offensive weapons.

“The bill is silent on private ownership of private ranch that approval for a should go to the governor,” Barrister Umamuzo said, adding that Section 13 (1, b) should provide a time limit within which animal can be brought into the state or community on daily basis.

The cattle breeders and Rerers Association, Asaba chapter  sent in a lawyer, Barrister Habib Lawal who made their presentation which was submitted to the committee.

Meanwhile, the Assembly’s Joint Committees has assured of commitment to give Deltans a clean and all-embracing law.

The Chairman on Special Bills, Hon. Pat Ajudua who is also the chief whip of the House, assured that at the end of the exercise, the committee would come out with a clean bill that Deltans would be proud of.

“The Joint Committees are committed in giving Deltans a bill that is all embracing, a bill that will affect Deltans positively, and a bill that will positively affect those involved cattle Rearing, and cattle business generally.

“This is why we have come to sit-down with various stakeholders to give us their various opinions concerning the success of the bill,” Hon. Ajudua said.

She informed newsmen that the joint committees was made up of carefully selected, brilliant, selfless, and hard-working lawmakers that would ensure a smooth Job was done on the bill.

 

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