Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Taraba State House of Assembly has passed the state Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill 2017 into law.
The passage of the bill was consequent upon the report of the ad-hoc committee which conducted public hearing across the three senatorial districts of the state which was submitted to the assembly and adopted by the â€˜Committee of the Wholeâ€™ on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Though there were agitations against the bill in some quarters particularly the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, the bill was however supported by a cross section of the state who presented 91 oral and written memoranda to the committee across the three senatorial districts.
Speaking on the bill, the Speaker of the assembly, Abel Peter Diah, commended the members of the ad-hoc committee for doing a very thorough job within the time frame given to it, saying posterity would be very kind to them.
He said the law would become operative immediately it is assented to by the state Governor, Darius Ishaku, who forwarded the executive bill to the assembly.
Diah beckoned on the people of the state to put aside religious and ethnic differences as he maintained that government, through the instrumentality of the law, would protect all citizens of the state irrespective of trade, tribe and religious affiliation.
The members of the assembly were unanimous that the law would go a long way to prevent destruction of crops, farm and community ponds, as well as loss of lives and properties occasioned by frequent violent clashes between farmers and herders.
Besides regulating livestock production and managing the impact of open livestock farming on the environment, the law also seek to promote job creation and investment opportunities in livestock production and enhance greater productivity in the livestock business.
Part of the features of the law is the power vested in the governor to establish the state Livestock and Ranch Administration Control Committee which is to be made up of no fewer than 13 members.
The committee is saddled with the responsibility of keeping a register of all ranches and ranch owners in the state as well as come up with modalities and conditions for the operations of livestock farming in the state.
Reacting to the passage of the bill, the state Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in the state, Sahabi Mahmud, said the law would not see the light of the day as the association has concluded plans to drag the assembly and the state government to court to seek redress.
He, however, appealed to his people to remain calm just as he assured them that the association would do everything within the ambits of the law to ensure the rights of Fulanis are not trampled upon in the state.