Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The Senate on Wednesday stepped down the second reading of three bills on cattle rearing in the country.
It said only the states of the federation could decide on the establishment of grazing reserves, ranches and the movement of cattle by herdsmen in the states.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who raised a point of order when the lawmakers began to treat the bills during Wednesday’s plenary, pointed out that the National Assembly lacked the powers to deal with matters that were neither on the Concurrent List nor the Exclusive List.
The bills a ‘A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and for other Related Matters 2016’, sponsored by Senator Musa Kwankwaso (APC, Kano Central) and ‘A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of National Ranches commission for the regulation, management, preservation and control of ranches and for connected purposes 2016’, sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue North-East).
The third was ‘A bill for an Act to control the keeping and movement of cattle in Nigeria and for other related matters thereto 2016’, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu-North).
The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, also supported Ekweremadu’s point.
Ekweremadu, while making his point, said, “The issues at stake here are neither on the Exclusive List nor on the Concurrent list. I believe, therefore, that it is a residual matter; it is for (the) states to decide how to deal with it.
“I believe the matter here concerns everybody, given the level of carnage and the conflicts going on in different states. So, I feel the concern of my colleagues but, unfortunately, we do not have (the) powers to legislate on matters relating to livestock in this Assembly; it is a matter reserved for the states.
“So, I believe that both the bills from Kwankwaso, Gemade and Utazi are beyond the reach of this National Assembly and should be accordingly withdrawn so that the states under the constitution should be able to deal with the matters, which the Constitution has prescribed for them.”
Ndume, while backing Ekweremadu, said, “I just want to join the DSP to explain (the clause); I just want to remind us of Order 81 and also appeal that as we are the Senate, we should not allow any emotion to guide us.
“The point that the DSP raised is a very important one. Number one, if we don’t have the powers to make laws – if it is so – I think there is no need to even start arguing on it (the bills).”
President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, noted that he also had an idea on the issue Ekweremadu raised.
He said, “Before the Point of Order by the Deputy Senate President, I had already put a suggestion that these bills brought on the Order Paper, based on the discussion I had with the two sponsors, were bills to be consolidated.
“It is clear from the discussion today that it is not so and my view is that since the basis by which they came on the Order Paper has changed, the way forward is for us to step them down from the Order Paper of today. I will want the Leader to move (a motion) that we step them down from the Order Paper of today to another legislative day.”
Saraki thereafter put Ndume’s motion to a voice vote. While the nays appeared to be louder, the Senate President ruled that the ayes had it. Punch.ng.com