Bayelsa Assembly moves to ban open grazing

In an apparent effort to address growing tension of confrontations between nomadic herdsmen and native farmers, legislators of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly have given their support to an executive bill aimed at regulating livestock, rearing, grazing and marketing in the state.

The legislation which is seeking to outlaw arms carrying by anyone under the guise of protecting livestock also prescribes punishment for offenders of livestock rustling.

The recent reported violent assault on two farmers by a suspected herdsmen at Otuoke in Ogbia Council Area was perhaps the catalyst which galvanized the Bayelsa State House of Assembly into action.

An executive bill now receiving accelerated hearing on the floor of the House is seeking the establishment of a special committee that will regulate all aspects of livestock breeding, marketing, issuance of permits and sanction the defaulters of open grazing.

During debate the lawmakers who emphasize that the legislation was not targeted at any particular ethnic group, said their aim was to protect lives and property in the State.

The bill which has scaled second reading has been to the House committees on Agriculture, Trade and Investment as well as environment.

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Ogbonna Ugorji

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