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Anti-open grazing bill for 2nd reading in Lagos

Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa [TheCable]

The Lagos State House of Assembly says the Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill, when passed, will ensure harmonious relationships between herders and farmers in the state.

The assembly made this known after the bill was read on the floor of the house for the second time, by the Acting Clerk, Mr Olalekan Onafeko, at plenary on Monday.

It said the bill would also protect the environment of the state and the south west zone.

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The house also read for the first and second time, the state’s Value Added Tax (VAT) bill, and asked the Committee on Finance, which was handling it to report back on Thursday.

Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, who described the Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill’ as timely, thereafter committed the bill to the Committee on Agriculture for public hearing.

The speaker also suggested that the bill should make provision for the registration of herders, and prepare them for ranching.

He said, “Allocating parcel of land is not enough, but there should also be training for those who will go into ranching, as ranching is expensive and requires adequate preparation.”

Concerning the VAT bill, he said it would further lead to increase in revenue and infrastructural development.

This is in line with fiscal federalism that we have been talking about,” he said.

Obasa said the VAT law, when passed, would help the state meet challenges in its various sectors.

He also urged the Lagos state government to do everything legally possible, to ensure the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, was sustained even up to the Supreme Court.

The speaker lamented a situation where about N500 billion would be generated from the state, while N300 billion was generated from other south west states, but paltry amounts would be disbursed to Lagos State in return.

Obasa said it was an opportunity for the state to emphasise again, the need for the consideration of true federalism.

Speaking earlier on the bill on open grazing, Mr Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1) lamented that farmers had continuously become afraid to visit their farms, thus causing shortage of food.

Yusuff also said many farmers had become indebted, as they now found it difficult to pay back loans they secured.

His position was supported by Mr Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2), who noted that the bill would ensure peaceful coexistence, reduce crime, and help to guide activities of herders.

On his part, Mr Olumoh Lukeman (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1) suggested that the high court should be made to handle cases from enforcement of the bill when passed, or that the state should establish special courts for such purpose.

Also, Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 1), expressed support for the bill, noting that it would give a level of security to the state and help reduce economic losses.

He added that Lagos had 250 hectares of land in Ikorodu and another 750 hectares in Epe for ranching.

Mr David Setonji (Badagry 2), said, There was a time we went on oversight function in a school here in Lagos.

We were embarrassed by cattle. We had to wait for the herder to move the cattle before we embarked on our oversight function.”

Setonji suggested a collaboration between men of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and the Police, in the implementation of the law when passed and assented to.

Other lawmakers who contributed during plenary were Mr Adedamola Kasunmu, Mr Rasheed Makinde, and Mr Sanni Okanlawon.

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