…urges FG to assist herdsmen to establish ranches
By Festus Ahon, ASABA
GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa, Thursday, signed the State Anti-open grazing bill 2021 into law, urging the Federal Government to assist interested herdsmen to establish ranches across the country.
Assenting to the bill christened “Delta State Livestock, Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Bill” and a second bill, Delta State Urban and Regional Planning Bill 2020, which were passed by the State House of Assembly, Okowa said the two laws were very important to the state.
The two Bills were presented to Okowa for assent by the Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, who was accompanied by his Deputy, Chief Christopher Ochoa and other Principal Officers. The anti-open grazing bill was passed by the State Assembly on September 21, 2021, after it went through Public Hearings, received support from stakeholders.
The Governor added that the Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulations Law has taken a new life of its own in the country.
Recalling that the Southern Governors met and took certain decisions which they believed was in the best interest of the nation, he said; “today is quite a remarkable day in the history of this state because we signed two important bills into law this morning.
“We believe that it is in the best interest of security, we believe that it is in the best interest of ensuring food security and that it will help us to ensure that we are able to cause people from across this nation who will find themselves outside their own states inhabiting in Delta State to live with Deltans in a peaceful and respectable manner with each other having respect for each other.
“We believe as the Southern Governors had stated that we must start to look into other ways of ensuring that we are able to breed and that we are able to rare our cattle and other livestock in such a manner that is acceptable in modern times.
“We believe that this is something workable, many times it is difficult for people to embrace change, but I believe that the world all over is changing by the day and if you find that change is going to bring peace if you find that change is going to bring development and even economic enhancement, it should truly be embraced.
“I think that it is time for our nation to depart from the old ways and to look into the future, ensuring that we do things in the best way for development.
“We must encourage best actions to be taken towards ensuring that there is peaceful coexistence within the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the various states and also ensuring that we are able to do our businesses in such a manner that is respectable and I think that is what this law stands for”.
The Governor explained that the law was not enacted to witch-hunt anybody but to encourage people to live with each other, respecting each others views, noting that the Delta State House of Assembly had done the state proud.
Okowa said: “Today Delta State can rightly boast that we now have a law that regulates livestock breeding, rearing and marketing and a law that also prohibits open grazing.
“It is one law that every one of us in this country should truly support, it is something that is in the best interest of us all.
“I want to urge all who are into livestock business to realise that this law has been signed and it is in the best interest of everybody including those who are into livestock breeding, raring and marketing business.
“There has to be some decency brought into and there has to be some reasonable level of respect for each other and even the rights that we tend to claim.
“Everybody has their own rights but it is important that we respect each others rights, every man’s right has a limit because you cannot infringe on the rights of somebody else.
“As a government, we encourage our people to gradually go into ranching because it will help our people, it will help to boost the economy of even the livestock breeder.
“I believe that with time they will come to realise that these laws being passed would help to boost the economy going into the future”.
While calling on Federal Government to put processes in place to assist in various ways to enable people to be able to establish ranches, he said; “this is very important because if we do not do something now, in the nearest future we will find that we will definitely be having food scarcity and the insecurity that we find in our country we may not be able to address them.
“Until we take very stringent and supportive measures to ensure that there is control in terms of open grazing and that there is respect among citizens because we are a united country.
“We have accepted to be one nation and everything that will strengthen the unity of this country, every government in this country both at the national and the sub-national levels must truly support it”.
On the Urban and Regional Planning law, Okowa said the law would enable the state to have a planned development with proper regulations and a formal establishment of the Ministry of Urban Planning backed by law.
“I believe that the very challenging areas we had in the former law have been corrected now and so it will be possible to continue to develop our urban centres within the context of the law without having any challenges in the way.
“This new law formally recognises the establishment of the Ministry of Urban Planning and I believe that is very important because we need to have liveable cities and if we are to have liveable cities there must be laws regulating and control of the development of urban cities and that has been given life to by this law,” he said.
He thanked members of the House for working always in the interest of the state and for taking their work very seriously.
Speaker of the House, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori who spoke earlier while presenting the bills, said the passing of the Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Bill, 2021 was in fulfilment of one of the agreements reached the Southern Governors’ meeting held here in Asaba the State Capital.
Oborevwori said: “I believe that by virtue of this Bill the Delta State Government under your very able leadership has demonstrated its resolve to protect the people of our dear State from the menace of clashes between herders and farmers.
“I also believe that this Bill will boost food production in the State as farmers can now go about their businesses without fear of anyone grazing on their crops,” Oborevwori stated.
He explained that the Delta State Urban and Regional Planning Bill, 2020 was aimed at the development of the State through a proper mechanism for Urban and Regional Planning to ensure compliance with laid down laws.