Senate yesterday denied that the National Grazing Bill was in its possession, saying the bill which seeks to apportion certain geographical landmarks for grazing of cows in each state of the federation, only featured during the seventh Assembly.
The denial of the bill followed a request from Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) to know if the bill was before the Senate.
But the upper legislative chamber in a statement through its Committee on Rules and Business, said the bill presented for consideration in the last Senate was sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure, who represented Niger Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the seventh Assembly.
The statement, signed by chairman of the committee, Senator Babajide Christopher Omoworare (APC Osun East), said its explanation was borne out of several calls senators were inundated with by their constituents over allegation that the bill had passed second reading and was expecting possible passage.
“Several distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been inundated with the request by members of the public concerning the pendency of a National Grazing Bill in the Senate.
“This is to clarify that no such Bill has been presented by the executive arm of government and none has so far been filed by any senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the eighth Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, a National Grazing Reserve Establishment and Development Commission Bill (SB. 60) was presented by Senator Zaynab Kure (Niger Central) during the seventh Senate (2011 – 2015) which has now expired by the operations of law on the 6th June 2015 in furtherance of Section 64(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” the statement read.
Earlier, Senator Abaribe had requested to know when the Senate did not only pass the bill but it scaled second reading.
Abaribe, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, at the plenary the raised alarm over speculation in the social media that a bill seeking to establish the National Grazing Commission had passed second reading in the eighth Senate.
Raising a point of order under Order 43 on personal explanation, Abaribe said he had been inundated with over 1000 calls from members of his constituency and the public on the present Senate passing the said bill, a development he said surprised him, given that he was not aware of the bill before the present Senate.
He requested to know when the said bill was passed by the eighth Senate, even as he recalled that the bill on grazing reserve was presented at the seventh Senate by Senator Kure.
He equally recalled that the bill was then rejected.
Abaribe said:”A senator may make a personal explanation although there would be no question before the Senate, but no controversial matter may be brought forward or may debate arise upon the explanation. The terms of the proposed statement shall be submitted in detail to the president of the Senate when there is need to make it a sought. Mr President, I sought your leave and you gave me approval.
“This personal explanation has to do with me. Mr President, I have gotten calls; I have gotten more than 1000 calls over the weekend and this has to do with something I consider is not before the Senate; something called the grazing reserve commission and everybody is calling me and people are sending me text messages to the extent that when I explained to some of my constituents who called me and said there is no such thing before the Senate, they now turned around and said ‘the only reason why you are saying so is that you never go to the Senate; you must be an absentee member.’
“And when I asked ‘where is this information coming from?’ they said the information is coming from the social media.
“Mr President, the last time a grazing reserve commission bill came to this Senate was in the seventh Senate and was proposed by Senator Kure, who is no longer in the Senate.
“So the reason why I am making this personal explanation is so that my constituents in Abia South will know that there is no such bill called grazing reserve commission bill before this Senate.
“I have taken time to ask the clerk and every other person to say where is this bill that has passed second reading; how did it passes second reading in my absence, and they said they also are in confusion that they have never seen such thing.