Open-grazing ban, VAT bills scale second reading at Lagos Assembly

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The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday committed the bill on open grazing ban to the Committee on Agriculture after it scaled second reading.

The legislators also read for the first and second time, the Lagos Value Added Tax (VAT) bill and asked the Committee on Finance to give a report on Thursday.

Speaker Mudashiru Obasa described the ‘Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill’ as one that would ensure a harmonious relationship between herders and farmers, and protect the South-West environment.

Obasa suggested that the proposal should make provision for the registration of herders and prepare them for ranching.

On the VAT bill, the Speaker said it would lead to an increase in revenue and infrastructure development in line with fiscal federalism.

He urged the Lagos government to do everything legally possible to ensure the judgement of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt is sustained up to the Supreme Court.

Obasa lamented that while the state generate about N500billion annually and others in South-West generate around N300billion, they all paltry amounts form the federal government.

Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1) lamented the havoc herdsmen had caused in the region.

He said farmers are now afraid to visit their farms, with many now indebted because it is difficult to pay back loans.

Yusuff condemned cattle roaming, the fear and accidents they cause, and advocated stiffer penalties for herders carrying firearms.

Hon. Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2) called open grazing in the 21st century an aberration.

Joseph said the bill would ensure peaceful coexistence, reduce crime and help to guide the activities of herders.

Hon. Olumoh Lukman (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1) suggested that the High Court or a Special Court handle cases from the enforcement of the bill when passed and signed.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) expressed decried how cows move about in a city like Lagos and confirmed the state has 250 hectares of land in Ikorodu and another 750 hectares on Epe for ranching.

Tobun Abiodun (Epe 1) said it was common to see cattle going to school as if they want to learn.

Hon. David Setonji (Badagry 2) recalled a time the lawmakers went to a school on an official visit.

“Were embarrassed by cattle. We had to wait for the herder to move the cattle before we embarked on our oversight function”, Setonji added.