The Rivers’ State Executive Council has approved the proposed bill that will provide legal backing to the ban on open rearing and grazing of livestock in the state.
The approval was given by the state executive council meeting presided over by Gov. Nyesom Wike, at Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that on May 11, the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum met in Asaba, the Delta capital, and unanimously adopted series of resolutions, the most critical being the ban on open rearing and grazing of cattle, throughout Southern Nigeria.
Addressing newsmen after the council meeting, the state Attorney General, Zaccheus Adangor explained that his office drew up a draft of the legal instrument, which was adopted by the council.
“We realised that we don’t have any extant law criminalising or prohibiting open grazing, so it has become necessary for the office of the Attorney General in the state to propose a bill for consideration by the state executive council.
“That bill came up before the council for deliberation and after exhaustive deliberation and discussion of the highlights of the bill, same was approved by the council for onward transmission to the Rivers State House of Assembly for necessary legislative action,” he said.
Adangor said when was passed and assented to by the State Governor, the law would criminalise and prohibit the grazing of livestock in any part of the state.
He stated that the bill was divided into four parts beginning with its objectives, and then the establishment of the state and local government livestock ranch administration and control committees.
By this, Adangor explained, livestock rearing activities would only be permitted within the precinct of a ranch and such a ranch would have been certified by the state government.
“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 regards to the guidelines it is going to issue, may or may not issue any approval to establish a ranch,” he explained.
He stated that the council had also approved the proposed Rivers’ State Residence Registration Agency Bill that will make it mandatory for residents of the state to be registered, including any visitor staying in the state beyond two weeks.
“That bill is going to establish an agency that will superintend the implementation of that bill. So, if you come to Rivers state and you are going to stay in the state for a period of more than two weeks, you will be bound to register.
“Of course, you can register in person or register electronically but, if you fail to register, that will constitute an offence under the bill when passed into law,” he stated.
Dr. Fred Kpakol, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, also told journalists that the council had approved the construction of a modern abattoir at Mgbuosimini in Rumuolumeni of Obio-Akpor Local Government area of the state.
Kpakol described the new abattoir as an integrated facility to be sited on a 21 plot of land by the seashore to provide health beef for Rivers residents.