The Rivers State Executive Council has approved the proposed bill that will give legal backing to the ban on open rearing and grazing of livestock in the state.
The attorney-general of the state and commissioner for justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), disclosed this yesterday while briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting of the executive council at Government House, Port Harcourt, which was presided over by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
Adangor stated that it was impossible for the state to enforce the resolution of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum on the ban on open rearing and grazing of without an enabling law.
Adangor said when the bill is passed into and assented to by the State governor, open grazing of livestock will be criminalised and prohibited in any part of the State.
He said: “Now, when that bill is passed into law, it will criminalise, prohibit open rearing or grazing of livestock in Rivers state. If you look at that bill, it is divided into four parts.
“The first part deals with the objectives of the bill; that is what the bill intends to achieve and then also deals with the establishment of the state and local government livestock and ranch administration and control committees.”
The attorney-general explained that livestock rearing activities would only be permitted within the precinct of a ranch and such ranch would have been certified by the State government.
He said, “The second part of the bill deals with establishment of ranches and issuance of ranching permit. Third parts deals with prohibition of open rearing and grazing of livestock offences and penalties therefor.
“The final part of the bill deals with miscellaneous provisions including power to arrest, detain and impound trespassing livestock and the jurisdiction of the court to try offences.
“In summary, once that bill is passed, no person will be allowed to openly graze livestock in Rivers State, except within the confines of a ranch. And to establish a ranch you must apply to the state committee for approval.
And that committee having regard to the guidelines it is going to issue, may or may not issue approval to establish a ranch.”
The commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol also addressed the journalists and said that council approved the construction of a modern abattoir at Mgbuosimini in Rumuolumeni of Obio-Akpor Local Government area of the State.