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    Senate Debates Over Animal Husbandry Commission Bill to Curb Herders/Farmers Crisis

    Senators have deliberated over a bill seeking to establish a National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission aimed at ending the frequent clashes between herders and farmers, which has led to the food crisis we face across the country today.

    Senators have deliberated over a bill seeking to establish a National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission aimed at ending the frequent clashes between herders and farmers, which has led to the food crisis we face across the country today.

    The bill that has scaled through second reading on the floor of the Senate was sponsored by a senator from Benue State, Sen. Titus Tartenger-Zam, with the title “A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation, and Control of Ranches throughout Nigeria, and for Connected Purposes, 2024.”

    The key provision of the bill divided senators as it seeks the establishment of ranches for herders in their states of origin where they can raise their cattle, as opposed to the current practice of moving cows about and destroying farms in the process.

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    Senator Tartenger-Zam, in his lead debate, specifically told the Senate that the bill “proposed that ranches be established in the pastoralists’ state of origin without forcing it upon other states or communities that do not have pastoralists as citizens.”

    Although a voice vote by the majority senators passed the bill for second reading, the provision was opposed by many northern senators, signaling their disagreement with the bill and insisting that the Fulani herders must be allowed to reside in any part of Nigeria they so choose to do.

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    For instance, a former Governor of Gombe State, Sen. Mohammed Goje, argued that the bill was discriminatory by proposing to restrict the herders to a particular geographical location, pointing out that the bill is against the constitution because pastoralists are Nigerians and should be allowed to move freely across the country.

    Meanwhile, the president of the senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, while rounding off the debate, assured senators that everything possible would be done to reach a consensus on the bill, as he called for a public hearing by bringing all the stakeholders to have a say, including cattle rearers and the state governments.

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