By Victor Ayeni, Abiodun Nejo, Peter Dada, Raphael Ede, Ada Wodu, Bola Bamigbola, Edward Nnachi, Daud Olatunji, Matthew Ochei and Adeyinka Adedipe – The PUNCH Newspaper
There were strong indications on Tuesday that many Southern States might miss the deadline set by the Southern Governors’ Forum for the promulgation of anti-open grazing laws.
The PUNCH gathered that as the ultimatum ends today (Wednesday), the States that have passed and signed the open grazing bill into law included Bayelsa, Ondo, Ekiti and Rivers.
It was learnt that in other States, it was either the Government had shown lack of interest in the bill by sending it to the Houses of Assembly or that it was still pending in the legislatures.
The SGF had at its meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, banned open grazing in the region.
At the follow-up meeting in Lagos in July, the Governors set September 1 as the deadline for the promulgation of the law.
Enugu Conducts Public Hearing
A day to the deadline, the Enugu State House of Assembly had yet to pass the anti-open grazing bill.
The State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, conducted a public hearing on a bill to prohibit open grazing, regulate cattle ranching and for connected purposes.
At the public hearing, stakeholders from various communities and Local Government Areas of the State applauded the bill and tasked the Assembly to speed up actions to ensure that the bill was passed within a short time.
The Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers’ Council, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu said, “I commend the State Government for this bill. It is apt and I urge the House to pass the bill into law.”
But the leadership of the Be community in Enugu State, in a joint submission presented by the South-East Zonal Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, requested that they should be given 30 days to review the bill and come up with their position on it.”
Bill Awaiting Oyetola’s Assent, Says Speaker’s Aide
In Osun State, the House of Assembly said it had transmitted the anti-open grazing bill it passed to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for his assent.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Timothy Owoeye said the bill, which was passed on Thursday, August 12, 2021, is awaiting the Governor’s assent.
Owoeye, who spoke through his Press Secretary, Kunle Alabi said, “After passage, we transmitted the bill to the Governor. It is presently awaiting his assent.”
We’ve Submitted Bill To Assembly – Lagos Commissioner
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has forwarded the anti-grazing bill to the State House of Assembly.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho said this in response to one of our correspondents’ enquiries via a text message on Tuesday.
Omotosho wrote, “The Executive Council has passed the bill to the House.
“There is separation of powers; ours is to send the bill as a necessity bill as the executive council and it is passed in the House of Assembly. The process is that the Assembly will look at the bill and if they are okay with it, they will send it back to the Governor to sign and then it becomes a law.”
Bill Not Ready In Ebony
In Ebonyi State, it was gathered that the State House of Assembly had not passed the bill.
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abakaliki, on Tuesday, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Ali Okechukwu said the bill was not ready.
Abiodun Yet To Assent Bill
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, is yet to sign the bill more than a month after the State House of Assembly passed it.
When contacted on why the Governor had not assented to the law, his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin said there was a process for it.
He said the Governor would follow the process for the assent.
“There’s a process for assent and it is being followed,” he stated.
Bill Pending In Delta Assembly
It was gathered that the bill was still pending in the Delta State House of Assembly.
One of our correspondents learnt that some members of the Assembly had gone to London for vacation.
When the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Special Bills, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mrs Pat Ajudua, was contacted on the telephone, she said, “Please send a text.”
Cross River Assembly Says Ayade Yet To Submit Bill
The Cross River State House of Assembly said it is still waiting for Governor Ben Ayade to submit the bill to it.
The Speaker, Eteng Williams, in an interview with The PUNCH stated, “We are waiting for it. The Southern Governors have made a statement on it, which all of us support.”
Akeredolu Meets SGF’s Deadline, Signs Bill
The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimii Akeredolu, on Tuesday, signed into law the anti-open grazing bill.
This came a few weeks after the bill was passed by the State House of Assembly.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo said in a statement that the Governor signed the bill in his office on Tuesday.
‘Ekiti Already Has Anti-open Grazing Law’
The Ekiti State Government said the September 1 deadline did not apply to it as the administration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose had already passed the law.
The Commissioner for Information, Akin Omole said, “I can confirm that we have the law and it has not been repealed. This shows that the law is already here. So, Ekiti is not one of the States that the September 1 resolution will apply to since we already have the law.”
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