Bayelsa proposes anti-grazing law, to prosecute herders carrying firearms

The Bayelsa State Government will arrest and prosecute herders and livestock owners who are caught with firearms when the state’s anti-open grazing bill is passed into law.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the state governor, Senator Douye Diri, is expected to sign the bill into law this week.

The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo (SAN), stated this while speaking at the public hearing on the legislative document titled, ‘Livestock Breeding and Marketing Regulation Bill, 2021’ at the House of Assembly Complex, Yenagoa.

The public hearing was organised by the House Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources; Trade, Industry and Investment; Environment, and Security, which is headed by Tonye Isenah, a former speaker of the house.

Dambo said the state is not coming up with a fresh law on possession of firearms through the bill to prosecute offenders but the state would arraign such flouters under the Firearms Act, a federal law.

He posited that the essence of the bill was to prevent herders/farmers clashes and forestall a breach of the peace in Bayelsa State as currently happening in some states.

Dambo said: “One area (of the bill) that I just wish to refer to is Section 15, which talks about the fact that livestock owners, managers, and ranchers shall not possess firearms licensed or unlicensed on the ranch or outside the ranch.

“I know that the issue of firearms is under the exclusive legislative list of the constitution. However, this bill is not going to create a new law. This paragraph was well crafted. If you go to Section 2, it says that any livestock owner, rancher or his agent who possesses or owns firearm or ammunition shall be prosecuted under the applicable law.

“What we are referring to here is the Firearms Act, which is a federal law. So what we are saying here is that we are not creating a new law. We are just saying that anybody that goes foul of this law will be prosecuted under the federal law.”



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