The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday urged the Edo House of Assembly not to pass the bill seeking the establishment of the Edo State Control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing/Grazing Agency into law.
Bishop Oyonnude Kure, the Chairman, Edo Chapter of CAN, who stated this in Benin at a news conference, said Christians in the state would be mobilised to attend the public hearing.
Kure advised the assembly to reject the bill because “it is retroactive and backdated to 2016.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which has scaled through second reading, is scheduled for public hearing on Thursday.
He said the association was opposed to the passage of the bill because it could confer unfair advantage on a particular section and ethnic group in Nigeria to the disadvantage of the people of the state.
Kure said setting up a state agency to cater for a particular section of the country by depriving indigenous communities of their choice ancestral homelands and acquiring same for a preferred ethnic group was contrary to provisions of Section 26 of the Land Use Act.
He stated that it is wrong for the state government to give indigenous ancestral communal homelands to what he termed “favoured section of the country’’ as nomadic cattle rearing is not customary among Edo people.
“From the provisions of Sections 22 and 23 of this bill, it is implied that the hard earned monies of the Edo Tax Payers will be used to fund this agency which is primarily geared to take care of the interest of cattle herdsmen who are engaged in private businesses.
“Section 14 (1) of this bill states that the Agency shall have power to operate in the entire state. This makes the Agency too powerful as it makes Edo State come under the full jurisdiction of the agency.
“This is not good to the interest of the state as the agency will have wide discretion to create grazing reserves throughout the state,” he said.
Majority Leader of the house, Mr Foly Ogedegbe, had said on Monday that the bill was to criminalise the nefarious activities of herdsmen.