The Senate has denied the ‘mysterious’ passage of a Grazing Reserved Commission Bill through the Second Reading by the 8th Senate, saying that the bill which was introduced in the 7th Senate died in June 6, 2015.
This was sequel to the alarm raised Tuesday by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who questioned the authenticity of the speculation in the social media that the National Grazing Commission had passed through the Second Reading in the 8th Senate.
The said Bill is seeking to establish the National Grazing Commission (NGC) in the country.
Abaribe, who raised alarm, came on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, entitled: personal explanation.
It reads: “A senator may make a personal explanation, although there would be no question before the Senate, but no controversial matter maybe bring forward nor may debate arise upon the explanation; the terms of the proposed statement shall be submitted in detail to the President of the Senate when the need to make it is sought.”
He disclosed that he had received over 1,000 calls from members of his constituency and the public on the passage of the said Bill by the present Senate.
Abaribe, who maintained that there was nothing like such, demanded to know when the said Bill was passed by the 8th Senate.
“The Bill on grazing reserve was presented at the 7th Senate by Senator Zaynab Kure, who is no longer in the Senate, and was rejected,” Abaribe recalled.
Abaribe hinted how embarrassing the speculated information was to him.
“I have gotten more than 1,000 calls over the weekend, and this has to do with something I consider not before the Senate, a phantom thing that is not before the Senate.
“Something called the Grazing Reserved Commission, and everybody is calling me, and people are sending me text messages to the extent that when I explained to some of my constituents, who called me and said there is no such thing before the Senate, they now turned around and said the only reason why you are saying so is that you never go to the Senate. You must be an absentee member.
“And when I asked where is this information coming from they said the information is coming from the social media. Mr. President, the last time a grazing reserved commission bill came to this Senate was in the 7th Senate, and was proposed by Senator Kure, who is no longer in the Senate.
“So, the reason why I am making this personal explanation is so that my constituents in Abia South will know that there is no such bill called Grazing Reserved Commission Bill before this Senate. I have taken time to ask the Clerk and every other person to say where is this Bill that has passed Second Reading, how did it passed Second Reading in my absence, and they said they also are in confusion they have never seen such thing.
“So, I would like the Chairman of Rules and Business to be able to tell this distinguished Senate whether he passed the Bill in our absence, when we are not all sitting here, and it went through Second Reading before it got here. That is all I have to say over this, Mr. President,” he said.
But reacting through a press statement, after the Plenary, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Babajide Omoworare, said that such Bill had expired by June 6, 2015.
“Several distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been inundated with the request by the members of the public concerning the tendency of a National Grazing Bill in the Senate.
“This is to clarify that no such Bill has been presented by the executive arm of government, and none has so far been filed by any senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, “A National Grazing Reserve Establishment and Development Commission Bill” (SB. 60) was presented by Senator Zaynab Kure (Niger Central) during the 7th Senate (2011-2015), which has now expired by the operations of law on the 6th June, 2015 in furtherance of Section 64(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” it read.