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Animal Ranches Commission bill will relocate Fulani herders to states of origin – Deputy Senate President Barau cries out

Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau on Wednesday strongly opposed a bill for an act to establish the National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission, which was sponsored by Senator Titus Tartenger Zam, from Benue State.

Barau said the bill, if allowed and passed into law, was targeted at relocating Fulani herders wherever they are to their various states of origin, which will be absolutely difficult as they may not know where they came from.

The concerned lawmaker maintained that the bill was in breach of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, particularly in regard to choice of residence, insisting that nobody should be denied where they chose to live.

Barau stoked heated debate as he expressed rejection, but was the lone voice as other Senators who contributed to the bill welcomed the development.

According to him, he benefited from living in a place that was not his place of origin, hence, Fulani herders in any part of the country should be allowed to live wherever they chose to.

He said: “There is a snag in this bill, there is a problem because you cannot stop any Nigerian from living in any area that he so wishes.

“The relevant section of the constitution has been read. I saw something just a few days ago: Senator Natasha visited a Fulani settlement in her senatorial zone. Those people do not have any home except that place. They have been there for so long. They have been part and parcel of that society.

“Now, to tell them to move to their state of origin, where is their state of origin?

“Now, for us as political leaders, I would like you to look at that. Who is the current Senator of FCT? She is a Yoruba native, but she has won the election here. Nobody told her to return to her state.

“I won my first election in Tarauni Federal Constituency to the House of Representatives in 1999 from Kano Central, but I am from Kano North. Nobody told me to go back to Kano North, so why do we now tell herders to go back to their states of origin?

“My friend Zam understands that this is not in consonance with our constitution; your bill is good. I like this bill, but this aspect should be removed. We should remove it. I advise my friend Senator Zam to stand this bill down for a consultation, for better drafting, so that it goes in consonance with our constitution.

“Mr President, I will tell you some of these Fulanis, if you ask them where their state of origin is, they have even forgotten; they look at themselves as Nigerians.

“We should address the issue to reflect wherever someone is, it’s his place, and he can do his business there. So, Mr President, I advise this bill to be stepped down for further consultation.”

Barau’s spirited effort to shut down the bill failed as majority of the lawmakers okayed the bill when Senate President, Godswill Akpabio put it to voice vote.

The bill having passed second reading was committed to the relevant Committee for public hearing.

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