THE debate on the controversial bills for the establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and another for the establishment of National Ranches Commission was aborted in the Senate yesterday.
The bills – “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and for other related Matters, 2016 sponsored by Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano Central); 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, 2026 proposed by Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) and A Bill for an Act to control the keeping and movement of cattle and related matters thereto, 2016 sponsored by Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) – were withdrawn due to disagreement on the way forward.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, told his colleagues that the upper legislative chamber lacked the power to legislate on livestock matters.
Ekweremadu said the states were better suited, according to constitutional provisions to deal with the issues raised in the bills since the issues were residual matters.
He said: “The issues at stake here are neither in the Exclusive List nor in the Concurrent List. I believe therefore it is a Residual matter; it is for 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 power to legislate on matters relating to livestock in this Assembly.
”It is a matter reserved for the states. So, I believe that the bills by Kwankwaso, Gemade and Utazi are beyond the reach of this National Assembly and should be accordingly withdrawn so that the states under the constitution should be able to deal with the matters which the constitution has prescribe for them.”
Ekweremadu quoted copiously from the constitution to buttress his position.
Senate Leader Mohammed Ali Ndume, in his contribution, said Ekweremadu raised fundamental issues that should not be ignored.
Ndume added that there was no point the Senate wasting its time debating the Bills if it lacked power to legislate on the matter.
Gemade, who spoke on the consolidation of the bills, noted that though the three bills seemed to deal with the same subject matter, the fundamentals of the bills were different.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki seemed not to be comfortable with the trend of debate on the bills.
He said since the understanding that the bills would be consolidated could not sail through, the bills should be stepped down.
He noted that the only reason bills were captured in the Order Paper was on the understanding that they would be consolidated.
After Saraki’s suggestion, Ndume promptly moved that the bills be stepped down.
The motion was adopted. (The Nation)