Reps kick against suspension of anti-grazing law, tackle defence minister


The house of representatives has kicked against the recommendation of Mansur Dan Ali, minister of defence, that the anti-open grazing law should be suspended.

Dan Ali made the recommendation during a meeting President Muhammadu Buhari had with service chiefs  on Tuesday.

He had said the law is responsible for tension in some states.

The law is operational in Benue, Taraba and Ekiti states where clashes between herdsmen and farmers have led to the loss of lives.

“There is need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the anti-open grazing law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders,” Tukur Gusau, Dan Ali’s spokesman, quoted him as saying at the meeting.

At plenary on Wednesday, the recommendation did not go down well with some of the lawmakers as they wondered: “why would a state be asked to suspend a law it duly enacted.”

Following a matter or urgent public importance raised by John Dyegh from Benue state, the lawmakers resolved that the call on states to suspend the law should be rescinded.

Dyegh said there is no need for suspension of the law when about 11 states reportedly agreed to donate lands for cattle colonies in a bid to end the coaches between herdsmen and communities.

Contributing to the debate on the issue, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, from Abia state, said the minister’s recommendation is uncalled for and that the issue of colonies should also he dropped.

She said: “We can’t be talking of colonies. What people are doing is ranching. It’s not proper to say a state should suspend a law passed for the welfare of its people.”

Adopting the prayers of the motion, the lawmakers also urged the federal government to “immediately submit a supplementary budget to the national assembly to develop colonies in those states that have agreed to donate lands (for them).”

Describing Dan Ali’s comment as an affront to federalism, Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti, vowed not to suspend the law in his state.