By Ikhili Monday EBALU, City
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Thursday Said the solution to Nomadic problems in the state was not contained in the Anti grazing bill currently before the state house of assembly.
Governor Obaseki who was represented by the Solicitor General of the state, Wole Iyamu made this known during a public hearing organized by Edo house of assembly on a bill for a law to establish control of Nomadic cattle rearing in the state.
Obaseki said the state government has absolutely nothing to do with the bill adding that, if the bill had gone through the rigor that executive bills go through, it would not have generated so many controversies.
“The bill did not address the problems on ground. The bill fails to define who nomadic farmers are. The failure of the bill to define grazing can ruin the purpose of a bill 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
“If there is a provision in the bill that empowers government to designate land for ranching, then, consent of government would be sought”, he said.
According to him, the solution to the problems of the Nomadic cattle rearers is not contained in the bill.
Also speaking, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Edo chapter, Mr Oyenude Kuru said that the bill did not represent the interest of Edo people.
Kuru noted that the proposed grazing bill violates the land use act in the state adding that, the law empowers only the local government to allocate lands for agricultural purposes.
He noted that some sections of the bill empowers and protect the herdsmen against the Edo people.
Kuru, however, explained that the proposed grazing bill portrays danger for present and future generations of the state.
Also, the representative of the Oba of Benin, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri said that the Oba did not ask him to contribute to the debate but to observe the proceedings.
Edebiri , however, expressed reservations over seeming disagreement between the executive and the legislature on the bill
Earlier, the Speaker, Justin Okonoboh said the essence of the public hearing was to get the input of the public to draft the bill.
Okonoboh assured the people that the views of the participants would be adopted holistically in the interest of the state.
The public hearing is expected to continue on Friday, July 7 at the House.
Meanwhile, a group under the auspices of Almagamention of Concern Edo Professionals stormed the premises of the State House of Assembly, venue for the public hearing of the bill seeking to establish cattle rearing and grazing and urged the House to kill the bill
The group comprises of Christian Association of Nigeria, Civil Society, Market Women, Professionals, Students who equally staged a peaceful protest to the Government House said the bill, its contents are not only anti- people but a plot to take what belongs to the people to an individual or group of persons
They also kicked against attempt by anybody to divide the people of the State through religious sentiment, adding that any further move by the House to forge ahead with the bill is tantamount to selling the destiny of Edo child
Spoke person for the Group, Gbenga Alege, decried the recent evasion, killings and the gruesome murder of 74 years old woman who was raped by Fulani herdsmen, and prevailed on the State Assembly to emulate the National Assembly other states were the bill was thrown out.
“We cannot cede any part of our land to these people and government has no business doing same. If we keep quit we are selling the future of our children. We have the support of Oba of Benin and the backing of the 1999 constitution”
One of the protesters, Isaac Omoregbe, said he abandoned his farm worth N500,000 for fear of being kill following the nefarious activities of the herdsmen while life remain unbearable for him and his entire family.