The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to rescind the ‘decision’ to compel states to suspend ranching and open grazing law.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had at Security Council meeting on Tuesday urged states to suspend ranching and open grazing law.
The call by the lawmakers followed a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance by John Dyegh (APC-Benue) at plenary.
Moving the motion, Mr Dyegh said that the 1999 Constitution expressly empowered States’ Houses of Assembly to make laws for the good governance of the states.
According to him, based on the Rule of Law and tenets of democracy, it was totally wrong for the Federal Government to dabble in the affairs of states.
Mr Dyegh said that the Federal Government was ignoring the laws of the land, more so, the Land Use Act, which had given power over lands to governors.
He said that the Anti-Open Grazing Law in Benue was enacted after the unprovoked Agatu killings by Fulani herdsmen that claimed the lives of over 800 persons and ravaged over 20 villages.
He said that in the past seven years, clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue had been on the increase with so many lives lost and farmlands and villages destroyed.
“This is not the only state that has made laws for good governance in it.
“For instance, we have seen states making laws against trading in alcohol and prostitution and such laws are obeyed by visitors and indigenes alike without interference by Federal Government.”
The lawmaker pointed out that the directive from Federal Government that states should suspend their open grazing laws was uncalled for.
“11 states as disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development some time ago, agreed to donate enough land to accommodate all the cows owned by herdsmen into colonies to end this crisis.
“More so, that even the National Economic Council in one of its meeting also agreed that ranching is the best way to end the crisis.”
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The House, therefore, called on the Federal Government to submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to develop colonies immediately in those states that had agreed to donate land.