From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the proposed bill that will give legal backing to the ban on open rearing and grazing of livestock in the State.
The endorsement was made at SEC’s meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, (SAN), said it was impossible for the state to enforce the resolution of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum on the ban on open rearing and grazing without an enabling law. He said the office of the Attorney General of the State did a draft of the legal instrument, which was what was adopted by the council.
Said Adangor: “You will all recall that on May 11, 2021, the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum met in Asaba and in that crucial meeting, adopted series of resolutions, most critical of it was that open rearing and grazing of cattle would remain banned throughout southern Nigeria. Governor of Rivers State, was part of that meeting.
“But, we realised that we don’t have any extant law criminalising or prohibiting open grazing. And so, it has become necessary for the office of the Attorney General of Rivers State to propose a bill for consideration by the State Executive Council.
“That bill came up before council for deliberation. And after exhaustive deliberation and discussion of the highlights of that bill, the same was approved by council for onwards transmission to the Rivers State House of Assembly for necessary legislative action.”
Adangor said when the bill is passed into law and assented to by the governor, open grazing of livestock would be criminalised and prohibited in any part of the state.
“In summary, once that bill is passed, no person will be allowed to openly graze livestock in Rivers State, except within the confines of a ranch. And to establish a ranch, you must apply to the state committee for approval. And that committee having regard to the guidelines it is going to issue, may or may not issue approval to establish a ranch.”
Meanehile, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, has called on people of the state to shun detractors whose stock in trade is to de-market the state.
Nsirim made the call when he spoke on a radio programme in Port Harcourt, where he urged people of the state to join hands with Governor Nyesom Wike to build a new Rivers.
“Let us join hands with Governor Nyesom Wike to build this new Rivers State because he is enthusiastic to make Rivers State a destination of choice and investors’ haven. He can do that if we collectively support him.”
He said contrary to claims of high level of insecurity, Rivers is safe for investors to come in and do business.
He said Governor Wike has in the last six years demonstrated commitment to the execution of the NEW Rivers Vision blueprint configured to address issues of education, healthcare, sports development, agriculture and rural development, women empowerment among others, which he envisioned on assumption of office in 2015.
“We have a patriotic man who loves his State with all his heart. Governor Wike doesn’t want to play to the gallery about the development of Rivers State.”