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Okowa signs anti-open grazing law

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By Nosa Akenzua,

Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday, signed the Delta State Livestock, Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Bill, 2021, otherwise known as Anti-Open Grazing Bill, with a call on the federal government to assist interested farmers to establish ranches across the country.

Okowa made this known after assenting to two bills passed by Delta State House of Assembly, at Government House, Asaba.

The bills, including Delta State Urban and Regional Planning Bill 2020, were presented to Okowa by the Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, in company with principal officers of the Assembly.

The governor said that the two laws were very important to the state, adding that the Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulations law had taken a new life of its own in the country.

He recalled that the Southern Governors met and took certain decisions which they believed was in the best interest of the nation.

“Today is quite a remarkable day in the history of this state because we signed two important bills into law this morning.

“We believe that it is in the best interest of security; we also believe that it is in the best interest of ensuring food security and that it will help us to ensure that we are able to cause people from across this nation who will find themselves outside their own states inhabiting in Delta State to live with Deltans in a peaceful and respectable manner with each other.

“We believe as the Southern Governors had stated that we must start to look into other ways of ensuring that we are able to breed and that we are able to rear our cattle and other livestock in such a manner that is acceptable in modern times.

“We believe that this is something that is workable; many times it is difficult for people to embrace change, but I believe that the world all over is changing by the day and if you find that change is going to bring peace, if you find that change is going to bring development and even economic enhancement, it should truly be embraced.

“I think that it is time for our nation to depart from the old ways and to look into the future, ensuring that we do things in the best way for development.

“We must encourage best actions to be taken towards ensuring that there is peaceful coexistence within the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the various states and also ensuring that we are able to do our businesses in such a manner that is respectable and I think that is what this law stands for,” he said.

Okowa said that the law was not enacted to witch-hunt anybody, but to encourage people to live with each other, respecting each other’s view, noting that the Delta State House of Assembly had done the state proud.

“Today, Delta state can rightly boast that we now have a law that regulates livestock breeding, rearing and marketing and a law that also prohibits open grazing.

“It is one law that every one of us in this country should truly support; it is something that is in the best interest of us all.

“I want to urge all who are into livestock business to realise that this law has been signed and it is in the best interest of everybody, including those who are into livestock breeding, rearing and marketing business.

“There has to be some decency brought into it, and there has to be some reasonable level of respect for each other and even the rights that we tend to claim.

“Everybody has their own rights but it is important that we respect each other’s rights; every man’s right has a limit because you cannot infringe on the rights of somebody else.

“As a government, we encourage our people to gradually go into ranching because it will help our people, it will help to boost the economy of even the livestock breeders.

“I believe that with time they will come to realise that these laws being passed would help to boost the economy, going into the future,” he said.

He called on federal government to put processes in place to assist in various ways to enable people to establish ranches, saying “this is very important because if we do not do something now, in the nearest future we will find that we will definitely be having food scarcity and the insecurity that we find in our country we may not be able to address them.

On the Urban and Regional Planning law, Okowa said that it would enable the state to have a planned development with proper regulations and a formal establishment of the Ministry of Urban Planning backed by law.

“I believe that the very challenging areas we had in the former law have been corrected now and so it will be possible to continue to develop our urban centres within the context of the law without having any challenges in the way.

Earlier, Oborevwori had said that Delta State Urban and Regional Planning Bill, 2020 was aimed at development of the State through a proper mechanism for urban and regional planning to ensure compliance with laid down laws and that the Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Bill, 2021 was in fulfilment of one of the agreements reached at the Southern Governors’ meeting held in Asaba, the state capital.

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