Several groups, including farmers and cattle breeders, on Wednesday, rejected the grazing routes proposed in the Animal Grazing and Cattle Ranch Establishment Bill, being considered by the Ogun House of Assembly.
They called for the designated routes in the bill to be expunged, at a public hearing organized by the House at the assembly complex in Abeokuta.
Abiodun Ogunyemi and Abel Solanke, both cattle breeders and Kuforiji Oluwadamilare of the Animal Scientists Association of Nigeria, joined other groups to clamour for the removal of the sections seeking the creation of designated routes for grazing in the state.
They insisted that cattle rearing should be seen as a serious business, which required an individual to acquire land from the state government for the establishment of a Ranch, to put an end to frequent clashes between farmers and herders.
Another cattle breeder, Olusegun Osinowo, however, stressed the need for government to ease the process of acquiring the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and other necessary documents for land for the establishment of ranches.
Also, the State Chair of the Coalition of Civil Societies, Yinka Folarin, canvassed for stiffer punitive provisions for herders caught with guns and other dangerous weapons, from 10 years imprisonment to 21 years.
The State Chair of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Abubakar Ibrahim, accompanied by the Seriki-Fulani in the state, Kabir Mohammed, promised to present their position paper to the House on the bill.
Earlier, Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of the House, who presided over the public hearing, promised that members of the relevant committee would consider the suggestions made at the public hearing and accelerate the passage of the bill, ahead of the farming season.
Mr Oluomo, however, asked the State Ministry of Agriculture and other regulatory agencies, to consider the introduction of a census of animals, at entry points into the state, for proper documentation.
He added that such a head-count would serve as a source of revenue for the government and be part of security measures to control the movement of the cattle, as well as prevent the outbreak of diseases in the state.
The sponsor of the bill, Ganiyu Oyedeji, explained that the bill was part of proactive measures by the House, to forestall the activities of herdsmen and their frequent clashes with farmers.
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