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HomeNewsAKHA RECEIVES BILL TO REGULATE ACTIVITIES OF HERDSMEN IN THE STATE

AKHA RECEIVES BILL TO REGULATE ACTIVITIES OF HERDSMEN IN THE STATE

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The Clement Isong Centre for Development Studies, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, presented a copy of a bill seeking to regulate the activities of cattle herdsmen in the state to Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for consideration and legislative backing.

If passed by the House, the bill which came as a result of in-depth research by resource persons at the centre, is aimed at preventing what the centre described as ‘herdsmen terrorism’ in the state. It will also guarantee a peaceful society for all, protection of farmlands from cattle attack, and as well as generate revenue to the state through taxation of cows.

Presenting the document to the Speaker of the House, the Chairman of the Centre, Prof. Imoh Ukpong with the assistance of the Director Dr. Etim Frank, informed that the decision to draft the bill came following a recent shocking discovery made Dr. Frank while travelling along the airport road to Oron.
He revealed that somewhere around Ekpene Ukim he had sighted a cattle rearer attending to his cattle and he observed that the herdsman was holding an umbrella, but he was shocked when he saw that the handle of the umbrella was a riffle.
Wondering what the cattle rearer would be doing with a gun, Dr. Etim said upon close observation he found out that it was actually a gun that the herdsman was holding while attending to the cattle at the location.

On his part, Prof. Ukpong, explained that as a research centre in the faculty of social sciences, the Clement Isong Centre for Development Studies deemed it necessary to put up the document for onward presentation to the legislature for necessary backing. He said it was worrisome to discover that cattle rearers would ever think of carrying guns into the state, saying it was high time the state government, House of Assembly and security agencies be on the alert to prevent such cases of herdsmen attack reported in some parts of the country from occurring in Akwa Ibom State.

Also speaking, the Director of the center, Dr. Frank said the bill makes provision for appropriate taxing of each cow that comes into the state. He disclosed that “it is the position of the Institute that the state government could generate revenue from the cows if the rearers were made to pay N50, 000 (Fifty thousand naira) per cow that enters the state,” among other recommendation.

Receiving the bill, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Luke, commended the Institute for the initiative, saying what they have done is in tandem with the position of the 6th assembly which has always urged members of the public to come up with private bills that would further the course of the state.

“When i saw the letter and its intent, I had to respond immediately because it is in line with our avowed commitment to be on the side of the people. We don’t have the supernatural to be every at the same time.”

“I want to thank the Clement Isong Centre for deeming it fit to honour a great son of the state, the Late Dr. Clement Isong, who contributed his quota to the development of Nigeria and the then Cross River State as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Cross River State.”

The Speaker said the legislature remains committed to partnering the executive and Judiciary to advance the development of the state. He recalled how he had in called the attention of the House in the previous assembly to the worrisome menace posed by cattle rearers, explaining that the current assembly had also deliberated on the matter where the relevant House Committee was mandated to initiate a meeting with security agencies, the representatives of the various ethnic groups resident in the state for the purpose of ensuring a peaceful society.
He used the opportunity to call on herdsmen in the state to ensure that they carry out their activities peacefully without allowing their cattle to destroy people’s farmland.

Barr. Luke, assured that the document will be forwarded to the legal department for scrutiny after which it would be sent to the House Committee on Business, Ethics and Privileges for further legislative action.
Present during the visit were other research fellow from the Institution.

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