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Published On: Fri, Jul 26th, 2019

Reps want open grazing treated as criminal offence

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…As Gbajabiamila rewards supporters with juicy committees

By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives yesterday asked authorities of the security agencies to ensure criminalization of open grazing considering the threat it posed to citizens’ lives, property and food production, pending when laws are enacted to promote such open grazing.
The resolution of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa, member representing Ethiope East/Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State, who decried the killing of 36 persons including four Lecturers between 2014 and 2018.
Hon. Igbakpa expressed grave concern over the frustration inflicted on his constituents in Ethiope East/Ethiope West, which is a linear settlement along the shores of River Ethiope, which is predominantly agrarian constituency and well known for production of all stable food driven from cassava and yam.
According to him, Delta State University is also situated in Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area and provides enabling environment for many Lecturers to engage in farming on part time basis.
“In this year 2019, a total of eight persons have been gruesomely murdered for daring to insist that the herdsmen should not graze on their farms of which, not a single prosecution of the culprits to serve as a deterrent have been recorded.
“On Saturday, 12th July, 2019, the entire Local Government Area of Ethiope East woke up into mourning and grief as their farm lands of over 100 hectares being cultivated with cassava, yam, maize and plantain was brought down to ruin by these dare devil herdsmen, bearing arms and threatening to deal with anybody who come around to challenge them, with a claim that they won Abuja even as they operate in Delta State.
“It is worthy of note that Ovie Village in Delta and Ewosi village which is a border town to Edo and Delta State to have been forcefully abandoned by the communities to herdsmen to enable them carry out their activities for fear of the indigenes’ lives due to incessant killings of its people and destruction of their crops. The continued nomadic activities into the communities of Abraka, Eku and environs for grazing are a total call for anarchy which cannot be tolerated,” he noted.
The House however urged the security agencies including Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Security and Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps (NSCDC) etc, should as a matter of urgency midwife a meeting of stakeholders in Ethiope Federal Constituency and leaders of the herdsmen with the view to douse the tension and find a lasting solutions to this recurring security milieu.
Meanwhile, the House at the Thursday plenary equally mandated it’s Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethnic and Values, (when constituted), to conduct a hearing on the challenges facing the National Orientation Agency with a view to charting a way forward to enable the Agency fulfill its statutory mandate.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Olajide Olatubosun (APC-Oyo) who frowned at the failure of the agency to effectively discharge it’s statutory functions over the past 20 years of democratic dispensation.
“The Mass Mobilization for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), as the forerunner of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), even under a military dictatorship, effectively inspired Nigerians to attain appreciable level of awareness and constructive encasement in national issues on consistent basis with attendant citizenry training and awareness campaigns along with abiding jingles and signature tones.
“The House is aware that most of the current national controversies that are adversely affecting our democratic growth and national development stem from ethno-religious sentiments that are fuelled by pathetic deficit of public discuss and policy contestations which have now assumed disturbing dimension on regular basis.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has announced chairman and deputy chairmen of 105 Standing Committees of the House and others Special Committees.
Peoples Daily report that some of the members who are allies to the Speaker got most significant committees, while the anointed candidates for the position of minority leaders were totally shut out of the committee’s list announced by the speaker.
The Speaker’s allies included; Hon. Muktar Batara who is now the chairman of the Appropriations Committee as well as Hon James Faleke who was named Chairman for Finance.
The Former Media and Public Affairs Chairman, in the 8th Assembly Hon. Abdulrazaq Banda’s was named to head the Committee on Army.
While the Frontline opponents of Gbajabiamila in the speakership election, Hon. Mohammed Bago was named the Chairman, Committee on Cooperation and African Integrations.
Bago’s former Committee, Maritime, Safety and Education in the 8th Assembly is now being headed by Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, a staunch supporter of Gbajabiamila.
Committee on House Services was given to Hon. Wale Raji to head.
Also, Hon. Onofiok Luke, a former Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, a member of the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and first timer to the House was named to head Committee on Federal Judiciary.
Also, Hon. Benjamin Kalu from Abia State was named Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs just as Hon. Darlington Nwokocha also from the State was named Chairman, Committee on Insurance.
Hon. Nicholas Mutu of the PDP was named Chairman of Committee on Gas Resources.
Hon. Tunji Ojo was named Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC while Hon. Wole Oke heads Public Accounts Committee, PAC.
Also, the Committee for Petroleum Resources (Up Stream) is headed by Hon. Sakin Ader just as Hon. Victor Nwokolo is heading Committee on Banking and Currency.
However, Hon. Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State and Hon. Chukwuma Onyenma from Anambra State who were the candidates of the PDP from minority leader and deputy minority leader were shut out of the committee portfolios.
It will be recalled that in the 8th Assembly, Chinda chaired the Public Accounts Committee while Onyenma was the deputy minority leader.
In the same vein, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi PDP) who headed Committee on Capital Markets in the 8th Assembly got nothing this time.
He is a notable ally to Chinda and die-hard PDP member.
Against expectations that the Director-General of the defunct Gbajabiamila/Wase Campaign Organization, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jubril would be compensated handsomely, he was not named for either the chairman or deputy chairman of any of the committee.
Recall that he headed the Finance and the Appropriations Committees respectively in the 7th and 8th Assembly.
But speculations have it that he is being projected for the Director-General position of a federal agency.
Meanwhile, the House adjourned plenary for its annual vacation to resume on September 17, 2019.

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