The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday, committed the bill on prohibition of open grazing as well as the state’s Value Added Tax, VAT, bill to committees for consideration.
The anti open grazing was committed to the committee on agriculture after it scaled second reading, while the House, after reading for the first and second time committed the state’s VAT bill to the Committee on Finance with the mandate to report back on Thursday.
Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, during the plenary session, described the ‘Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill’ as timely and one that would ensure harmonious relationships between herders and farmers and protect the environment of the state and the southwest zone.
Obasa, also suggested that the bill should make provision for the registration of herders and prepare them for ranching.
“Allocating parcel of land is not enough but there should be training of those who would go into ranching because ranching is expensive and required adequate preparation.”
Concerning the bill on VAT, the speaker, said it would lead to “increase in revenue and increase in infrastructural development. This is in line with fiscal federalism that we have been talking about.”
Obasa maintained that the VAT law when passed, would help the state meet challenges in its various sectors.
He also urged the Lagos State government to do everything legally possible to ensure the judgement of a Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, is sustained even up to the Supreme Court.
He lamented a situation where about N500 billion is being generated from Lagos State, while N300 billion is being generated from other southwest states and paltry amounts were disbursed to them in return.
Obasa stressed “It is an opportunity for us to emphasise again on the need for the consideration of true federalism.”
Speaking earlier on the bill on open grazing, Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), lamented the havoc that herdsmen had caused in the southwestern zone.
According to him, “farmers have continuously become afraid to visit their farms thus causing shortage of food. Many farmers have become indebted as they now find it difficult to pay back loans they secured.”
He described as lamentable a situation where cattle are allowed to roam the streets causing accidents and embarrassing people.
He advocated for stiffer penalties for herders caught carrying firearms.
Corroborating Yusuff, Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2) said, “open grazing in the 21st century is an aberration.”
Joseph said the bill would ensure peaceful coexistence, reduce crime and help to guide the activities of herders.
In his contribution, Olumoh Saad Lukeman, representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1, posited that the high court should be made to handle cases from the enforcement of the bill when passed or that the state should establish special courts for such purpose.
Gbolahan Yishawu, described Lagos as a cosmopolitan state and, as such, having to see cattle in the streets “is worrisome.”
He expressed support for the bill because, according to him, “it will give a level of security to the state and help reduce economic losses.”
He added that Lagos has 250 hectares of land in Ikorodu and another 750 hectares in Epe for ranching.
Tobun Abiodun, representing Epe 1, jocularly stated that it was common to see cattle going to school as if they wanted to learn.
David Setonji, representing Badagry 2, recalled, “a time we went on oversight function in a school here in Lagos. We were embarrassed by cattle. We had to wait for the herder to move the cattle before we embarked on our oversight function.”
Setonji suggested a collaboration between men of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and the police in the implementation of the law when passed and assented to.
Other lawmakers who contributed during plenary include: Adedamola Richard Kasunmu, Rasheed Makinde and Sanni Okanlawon.Follow us on social media