By Nefishetu Yakubu
A Bill for a law to establish the Edo State Cattle Rearing and Grazing Agency on Tuesday passed second reading on the floor of the Edo House of Assembly.
Bright Osayande (APC-Ovia North East 11), who led the debate for the passage of the bill, said the incessant killing of defenseless farmers and the needless destruction of crops by herdsmen was a call for concern.
“The criminal activities of these herdsmen have earned the group the reputation of being the fourth most dreaded group, according to the Global Index for Terrorism (GIT).
“Their activities have taken a different dimension as the herdsmen now take their cattle to school premises for grazing,’’ he said.
Osayande drew the attention of the house to a newspaper publication, which drew global attention to the herdsmen’s invasion of Ohovbe primary school in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state.
He called on the lawmakers to make deliberate efforts at giving members of the public a feeling of protection by regulating the activities and menace of herdsmen through stiff penalties.
On his part, Majority Leader of the house Foly Ogedengbe spoke of the need to hold a public hearing on the issue, adding that it was high time government criminalized the unrestrained behaviour of the herdsmen.
Other lawmakers argued in favour of the passage of the bill.
The Speaker, Justin Okonoboh, decried the spate of incessant killings resulting from clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Okonoboh emphasised the need for a public hearing with a view to engendering robust contributions to the bill.
He, however, referred the bill to the house committees on agriculture, environment and judiciary for further input.