Akpabio Insists ‘Cows Are Not Nigerian Citizens’ As Northern Senators Oppose Move To Ban Open Grazing

Senate President Godswill Akpabio has argued firmly that cows are not citizens of Nigeria as senators from the northern region opposed moves to ban open grazing in the country.

In a viral video, the legislative session on Wednesday was marked by a heated debate and strong emotions in the Red Chamber.

If passed into law, the bill, sponsored by Senator Titus Zam, representing Benue North West, will prohibit open grazing nationwide.

This is aimed at resolving longstanding conflicts between herders and farmers.

The proposed law outlines specific regulations for the establishment and management of ranches, promoting best practices and mitigating disputes between herders and farmers.

The bill, however, met stiff opposition from Senator Danjuma Goje from Gombe and his counterpart from Kebbi, Adamu Aliero.

According to the video, the northern senators described the bill as an attempt to contravene the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country by banning the free movement of herders and their cattle.

The lawmakers argued that cattle rearing and ranching activities are done more in northern Nigeria than in other parts of the country, reasoning that lawmaking should be for the entire country and not for a section.

Aliero argued that cattle routes start from the far north and end in Lokoja and that the splitting of the northern region into 19 states has hampered the process.

However, the Senate President, in his opinion, maintained that cows should not be viewed as citizens of the country and thus do not enjoy any proportion in the Nigerian constitution.

He said, “Cows are not citizens of Nigeria, Senator Aliero, are you arguing with me? The section you are referring to is talking about citizens of Nigeria.

“And cows are not citizens of Nigeria. Cows can come from Niger, Chad or anywhere.”

Other senators who supported the bill contended that the proposed Commission would manage the farmers/herders crisis, hence, it should be passed.

The bill was passed after it was put to voice vote by Akpabio.

It was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Judiciary and Legal Matters to be reverted in four weeks.

The legislative measure is designed to address the challenges and conflicts associated with cattle rearing, ensuring a more structured and sustainable approach to the industry.

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