Two lawmakers have restated their opposition to the Nation­al Grazing Reserve/Ranch­es Bill.

National-house-of-AssembleTwo lawmakers in Igboland in the National Assem­bly, Senator Chuk­wuka Utazi and and Hon Chris Azubogu, have restated their opposition to the Nation­al Grazing Reserve/Ranch­es Bill.
While Senator Utazi cautioned the Federal Gov­ernment against acquiring lands for cattle rearers with the tax payers’ money be­cause it negates the spirit of entrepreneurship, Hon Az­ubogu, said that he would vote against the Bill in the House of Representatives.
Senator Utazi, who rep­resents Enugu North Sena­torial District in Enugu State told news men that since cattle rearing is a private business venture, it will be wrong for the Federal Government to buy grazing lands for herds­men under the guise of es­tablishing grazing reserves or ranches in the country.
The lawmaker, who pro­poses the Cattle Movement (Control) Bill 2016, said the Bill is designed to re­store people’s confidence in herdsmen by making them accountable for the damage done by their cattle in their attempt to provide pasture for them.
Utazi said that he had taken time to examine the source of incessant clashes between herdsmen and the host communities and dis­covered that the inability of the cattle rearers to take responsibility for crops de­stroyed by their cattle had always given rise to such conflicts.
He said: “Our people are more hospitable to strangers than their own relations but this gesture has been taken for granted and that is why since the militarisation of cattle herdsmen by their em­ployers who, instead of giv­ing them sticks with which to chase their cattle, have given them AK-47 and these people who used to negoti­ate with our people if their cattle decide to feed on peo­ple’s crops, have become de­fiant.
“The situation now is that if you complain, you will be shot dead. If your wife goes to the farm to work, she is raped. Our women and children can no long go to the farm to fetch firewood or go to streams to fetch water, they are raped”, he lamented.
Hon Azubogu, who rep­resents Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Local Government Areas of An­ambra State, said he would vote against the bill on the floor of the lower House.
In an interaction with journalists in Nnewi, after inspecting computer labora­tories in three schools in his constituency where he has attracted about 200 com­puters, the lawmaker said that the bill which sneaked into the National Assembly has been condemned, add­ing that it is not in the inter­est of his constituents.
Azubogu said that the bill will fail because of the rejection it has received across the country and that the lawmakers as represent­atives of their people must vote in line with the expec­tations of their constituents.
“What my constituents want is ranching bill and not grazing bill, we will work to­wards that at the appropri­ate time though I must state that we have to be tactical while pursuing that”, he said.
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