Governors meet in Enugu over VAT, Open grazing bill And others
The Value Added Tax (VAT), Inter State boundary and security will top the agenda of the southern governors’ meeting on Thursday in Enugu.
Thursday’s meeting, which is the third, trails the previous ones hosted by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
During their Asaba meeting, the 17 governors called for concerted efforts at tackling the worsening insecurity.
In Lagos, they resolved to enact laws in their respective states against open grazing.
They also called for presidential zoning to the South.
Some of the governors have signed the anti-open grazing bills into law. However, in the Southeast, only Enugu State has a law against open grazing.
Igbo youths on Wednesday urged the Southern governors to prevail on Southest governors to legalise the ban on open grazing in the region.
They urged the governors of Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia states to emulate their Enugu counterpart Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who had signed the state’s anti-open grazing bill into law.
On Wednesday, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel and his Osun State counterpart Gboyega Oyetola, signed the anti-open grazing bill into law.
Apart from Enugu, no other state in the Southeast has initiated any legislative move towards legalising the ban on open grazing.
In a statement in Enugu, the President-General of Ohanaeze Youth Congress (OYC), Okwu Nnabuike, urged the Southern governors, who are meeting in Enugu today to prevail on other Southeast governors to legalise the ban.
He lamented that Southeast governors were only paying lip service to their resolutions.
Nnabuike said: “We heartily welcome them to Enugu, a very peaceful state and urge them to ensure that resolutions they make during these meetings are implemented by all the member-states”.
He added: “We are not pleased with other states in Southeast which are paying lip service to the open-grazing ban.
“This is unacceptable, and we have said before that should anything happen to any Igbo community, those governors would be held accountable. They cannot sacrifice the lives of our people on the altar of politics.”
Akwa Ibom’s Bill to Prohibit Open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock also made provision for the establishment of ranches.
Emmanuel assented to the bill after it was presented to him by the House of Assembly Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN).
Emmanuel said that the law is no respecter of persons, irrespective of status or caliber.
He directed relevant authorities to ensure that the law is enforced, stressing that culprits must be brought to book.
Emmanuel said: “The law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattles, while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
“It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state.”
Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, at the plenary, noted that the law will prevent the destruction of farms and crops by open grazing of livestock.
Oyetola’s Chief Press Secretary Ismail Omipidan, told reporters in Osogbo, that his boss has signed the bill into law.
He said: “Mr Governor has signed the anti-open grazing bill into law immediately the bill was transmitted from the House of Assembly to the office of his excellency. We have notified the security agencies that will enforce the law in every part of the state, so, it is a crime to practice open grazing in Osun state.
“Osun State is one of the most peaceful states in the country. We have fewer challenges of herders invading farms to destroy the crop or attacking farmers because we had in place a Committee on Peaceful Co-Existence between Fulani/Bororo and Crop Farmers, led by Mudasiru Toogun, to foster peace between these communities.
“Before enacting this law, we have summoned stakeholder meeting to deliberate on the matter and we have enlightened the herders in the state on the benefit of embracing ranching system. We have made provisions for the practice of ranching through the ministry of agriculture.”
He added that the law will prevent killings, sexual molestation, and protect the environment from degradation and pollution caused by open grazing.
Omipidan added: “Any person or group who contravenes the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to terms of imprisonment of not less than 3 years without the option of fine as well as forfeiture of the herds of Cattle or livestock under his or her control to the State Government.
“A minor is prohibited from grazing, rearing or herding of livestock except under the supervision of an adult.
“A minor who contravenes the provision of Section 3 (4) committed an offence, and the guardian or parent of the minor or owner of the livestock as the case may be, shall be vicariously liable on conviction to a fine of N300,000.00 only.”
He noted that the conveyance of livestock on foot from one destination to another in the State is prohibited, except such movement is by Rail Wagon or Truck or pick-up wagon and is within 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.