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Grazing Bill: Sambisa Forest Big Enough For Ranching, NBA Tells Lawmakers

The Nigerian Bar Association has called for the prohibition of open cattle grazing across the 18 local government areas of Edo State .

It also described the issue of ranching as a sensitive matter that could worsen the challenges posed by herdsmen in the state, even as it suggested that the Sambisa forest in the northern part of the country was big enough to accommodate herdsmen and their cattle .

The Benin branch Chairman , Mr . Ede Asenoguan , disclosed this during a two -day public hearing organised by the Edo State House of Assembly on the proposal to establish a grazing law.

The proposal titled , “ A Bill for a Law to Establish the Edo State control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing and Grazing Law and for Other Purposes Connected Therewith 2016, ” has already scaled through its second reading in the House .

Present at the hearing were lawmakers led by the Speaker , Dr. Justin Okonoboh , government officials , representatives of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II , religious leaders and other concerned groups.

Asenoguan explained , “ Grazing and movement of cattle must be prohibited . If we prohibit it , then we will not see them on our streets, highways and in the classrooms .

“ The issue of ranches is very sensitive and our own position is that the Sambisa forest in the North is bigger than four states of the south put together. Let them convert Sambisa forest to ranches.

“ For a piece of land to qualify as a ranch , you are looking at a minimum of 55, 000 hectares and the bill is proposing that we must have at least one in each of the ( three ) senatorial districts. That , in itself , is going to create a lot of problems. ”

He stated that if ranches were eventually created by government , it could decide to regulate the operation of the ranches, with laws and guidelines on how ranches should be established in distant areas close to rivers .

According to him , it was also important that all cattle owners and rearers be licensed , with a mechanism to easily identify the ownership of cattle , so that owners could be vicariously liable for stray cows.

Asenoguan disclosed that the NBA branch was already working on the bill with the intention to come up with a

proposal for a comprehensive amendment, which he said would address all the problems that may arise from the implementation of the bill .

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