Anti-Open Grazing Bill Passed by Anambra Lawmakers

By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

A bill for a law to prohibit open grazing, nomadic cattle and livestock rearing in Anambra State; as well as the establishment of ranches, has scaled Third Reading and has been passed into law in a plenary presided by the Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Victor Okafor, Tuesday, October 12.

The bill, according to the lawmakers, prohibits and abolishes open and nomadic cattle and other livestock grazing and rearing in Anambra State. It also states that cattle and other livestock ranches will be established in the state.

Fides reports that the Bill provides that a person or group of persons shall not, after the commencement of the law, engage in open, nomadic livestock herding or grazing in any part of the state; whether day or night, outside the permitted ranches.

It also provides that any person or group of persons who contravenes Sub-section one of this section commits an offence and shall, on summary conviction, be liable to two years’ imprisonment or two hundred and fifty thousand Naira, fine or both.

Where such contraventions cause damage to farm crops or property of any person, the owner or manager of such livestock shall, after evaluation of the damage by the management committee, pay the current monetary value of the farm crops or property damaged to the owner.

The Bill outlines procedure for establishment of a ranch, ownership of ranch by indigenes, status and revocation of lease and ranching permit, establishment of livestock special task force, establishment and membership of the local government advisory committee, among others.

Speaker of the House, Right Honourable Uche Okafor, commended the House for painstakingly passing the Bill and read out the bill for passage, while the lawmakers supported it through a voice vote

In his remarks, a one-time speaker of the State Assembly, Right Honourable Dom Obiekie, lauded the house for passing a bill that would arrest open grazing in Anambra State.

Also at the plenary, the House invited the Director, Estate Services, Anambra State Housing Development Corporation, Mr. Anthony Nwaofor, to appear before it on the 21st of October, 2021, to explain why he did not carry out their directives.

Speaking on the Anti-Grazing Bill, the member representing Oyi Constituency, Honourable Charles Obimma, noted that the bill was not intended to witch hunt anybody but to arrest open grazing and promote modern ways of ranching in Anambra State.