16th July 2024
Agriculture & Agribusiness Conflict/War National News News Politics

Enugu Assembly Passes Public Ranch Agency Bill To End Farmers/Herders Crisis

The Enugu State House of Assembly has passed the Public Ranch Agency Bill which authorises the state government to set up an agency to manage both government and privately owned ranches in the state.

Speaking before the passage of the bill, the member representing Igbo-Eze North Constituency II, Clifford Obe, argued that the legislation would end the farmers/ herders crisis in the state.

Obe said the farmers/herders crisis was responsible for the low agricultural output in the market.

According to him, many farmers have been driven out of their farms, which has increased crime and rural/ urban migration.

Obe said: “The bill will help people not to be afraid. It will make it a must for herders to register whenever they enter any community. It will reduce crime and how cattle mess up our city and rural communities because there would be an agency on the ground to guide the herders.

“Above all, the state government would be able to collect tax from the herders, who before now didn’t pay any tax.”

Also contributing, Okechukwu Aneke, representing Udi South Constituency, noted that there is no need for people to be afraid of the bill, adding that herders are not only Fulani.

Aneke stressed that the herders have come to stay, urging the people to learn how to co-exist with them, as the herders have come to stay.

The lawmaker reiterated that the bill wants to control the herders, adding that those invading and attacking communities in the state are not real herders.

Aneke said: “This agency when established, will have a designated area where the cattle and their herders will be stationed. Any herder, who is found in our bush and not in the designated place, should be treated as an intruder and a kidnapper.”

Another lawmaker, Chima Obieze, regretted that people condemning the bill are arguing about what they don’t know, saying there is nothing on the bill for people to shout about.

Obieze asked the public not to discourage people from other parts of the country from coming to Enugu to do business.

While stressing that the mostly nomadic herders should come to the state, pointing out however that they must operate following extant laws.

Harrison Ogara, who represents Igboeze South state constituency, while noting that the bill would guarantee peace between farmers and herders, asked the executive arm of the government to be strategic in its implementation.

In his remark, the Speaker, Chief Uche Ugwu, assured the people of the state that the assembly would not pass a bill capable of truncating the peace in the state.

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