FRESH facts on why the 9th Senate led by its President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, rejected a bill seeking to ban open grazing in Nigeria, emerged on Monday when the red chamber clarified that the proposed legislation was at variance with the powers of the National Assembly.
The bill sponsored by the lawmaker representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Kola Balogun, had not been listed for first reading since he presented it to the Senate Committee on Rules and Business in January this year.
Findings by our correspondent at the committee’s secretariat revealed that the reason the bill had not been listed in the order paper was because of a directive from the Senate leadership.
An official of the committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We usually list new bills and motions for presentation and seek approval from the Senate leadership.
“We had since listed this particular one on open grazing when it was submitted to us, but it was rejected by the Senate leadership; so, we have to drop it while we expect the sponsor to hold further talks with the Senate President.”
The Senator (Balogun) had in a recent chat with Journalists, expressed concern over the continued delay in the listing of the bill, which he said, was aimed at tackling insecurity in the country by eliminating farmers/herders clashes and the invasion of southern Nigeria forests by armed Fulani herdsmen.
However, the spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, laid the matter to rest on Monday when he told newsmen that the anti-grazing bill was not consistent with the powers of the National Assembly.
Basiru said the federal parliament could not legislate on land use matters because it remained the exclusive preserve of the state governments, going by the provisions of the Land Use Act.
How Saraki killed grazing bills in 8th Senate
Meanwhile, it is to be recalled that three bills sponsored by three senators in the 8th Senate on grazing-related issue were thrown away by the Bukola Saraki-led red chamber.
One of the bills, which sought to establish Grazing Management Agency and ensure the creation of grazing areas across the country, was sponsored by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano Central).
Two other bills sponsored by Senators Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) suffered similar fate.
The Deputy President of the 8th Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, however, laid the foundation for the withdrawal of the bills.
He said the Senate lacked the power to legislate on grazing matters which the bills set out to pursue.