Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Monday Igbuya, has supported the recent statement by the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, on the decision by the people of Delta State not to support the Federal Government-sponsored Grazing Reserves Bill.
Executive Assistant on Communication to the Governor of Delta State, Mr Fred Oghenesivbe, quoted the Speaker as saying that all over the world, there was no country where the Federal Government hides under legislation to forcefully acquire grazing reserves for farmers and herdsmen.
He said: “Those sponsoring the bill for grazing reserves in Nigeria are on their own. Delta State is not part of that retrogressive and politically motivated legislation. It is an anti- democracy, anti-people legislation and it openly infringes on the fundamental rights of our citizens by compelling them to vacate their lands for Fulani herdsmen.
“Our position in Delta State is very clear. Our state governor, Dr Okowa, made it abundantly clear over the weekend that Deltans and the state government are not party to the Federal Government sponsored grazing reserves and that is our collective position.
“As the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, I can categorically tell you that my colleagues are on the same page with the governor, that is why I am corroborating what our governor told the world over the weekend. No grazing reserves in Delta State, period.
“What is acceptable is for the Fulani herdsmen to lawfully acquire lands for grazing in line with what is obtainable in other democratic societies.
“The APC Federal Government is playing on the intelligence of the Nigerian people and at the same time making mockery of democracy through the sponsorship of the Grazing Reserves Bill.
“The herdsmen are businessmen who rear cattle and sell them for profit. It is, therefore, immoral and against the principles of natural justice for the Federal Government to hide under any legislation to unduly favour Fulani herdsmen to the detriment of land owners across the country.”
“We are no longer going to tolerate any stray movements of cattle across the state. The Herdsmen must find a way of doing their business legitimately and without coercion, brutal killings, raping and destroying farmlands of our people in the name of grazing.
“We are looking at the possibility of arresting owners of strayed cattle and prosecuting them once we are done with the legislation currently undergoing final stages. I am pretty sure that from next week this matter will be dealt with so as to restore law and order in the affected communities.
“I must thank my colleagues especially, Evance Ivwurie for his proactive steps in ensuring that the House took up the matter with the urgency it deserved. His constituency (Ethiope East), has been in deep mourning for months unending especially in Abraka communities. The end of the heinous crimes by Fulani Herdsmen in Delta State is at sight,” Speaker Igbuya assured Deltans.
It will be recalled that several cases of brutal killings, raping and other criminal activities by Fulani Herdsmen has been on the increase in Delta State, particularly in Abraka communities.
The sad news is that the police were yet to make any arrest, let alone prosecute the culprits.
They move about in the streets in broad daylight with illegally acquired assault ruffles with which they kill people at random in Delta communities and elsewhere in the country.
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