Senate Asks Defence Minister to Withdraw Anti-open Grazing Law Statement


From Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate  Wednesday asked  the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), to withdraw the statement credited to him that implementation of the anti-open grazing laws enacted by some states should be suspended to reduce tension.

This followed a point of order raised by Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East), who criticised the minister for attributing the incessant killings in Benue and Taraba States to the anti-open grazing laws enacted by the state governments.

Defence minister had on Tuesday at a meeting of security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock called for the suspension of the implementation of anti-open grazing law to douse the tension between farmers and herders.

Objecting to the minister’s position,  Gemade expressed concern over the spate  of killings in his senatorial district, especially with the recent killing of seven people in Kwande local government area of Benue State

According to him, while we are looking up to government and security agencies for protection, we get dismayed by the attitude of those who lead these security forces.

“It was very strange to me that in the mind of the Minister of Defence, the only way he can solve the problem of hundreds and thousands of people being killed in the states of Benue and Taraba is that the law they made against open-grazing of cattle should be removed so that anarchy can go on as it was the case before”.

Gemade further submitted that, “we know that farmers and herders need the land but there should be a way where a law will be enacted to ensure that one person is using the land according to law”.

The Senate unanimously granted Gemade’s request and asked the defence minister to withdraw the statement

Also, there was a mild drama on the floor of the Senate Wednesday as the Senate President Bukola Saraki read a letter from President  Buhari.

Saraki had barely mentioned the word Transmission when the Senate Chambers erupted in laughter which prompted the Senate President to cough, smile and said ” I will take that again”.

The senators were laughing in apparent mockery of what transpired last month in Kano when the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, was quoted to have repeated the word-Transmission-several times at a public function.

Saraki now went on to read the letter from Buhari thus “Transmission of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Amendment Bill 2018

“I forward herewith a draft deep offshore and Inland Basin Products Sharing Contracts Amendment  Bill 2018 for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while hoping that the Bill will receive the usual expeditious consideration and passage by the distinguished Senate”.