In order to lay to rest the growing agitation in the country over an information about a bill, National Grazing Reserve Bill, which seeks to create grazing fields across the country, the Senate yesterday clarified that there was nothing like grazing reserve bill pending before it as has been reported in the media.
Making the clarification on behalf of the Senate, Senator Babajide Omoworare, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, disclosed in a statement he issued in Abuja after plenary on Tuesday that such bill had not been presented to the 8th Senate but revealed that it was introduced in the 7th Senate but was not passed and had consequently expired with the last Senate.
Senator Omoworare, in a statement titled “Official Statement By The Chairman, Committee On Rules and Business”, said:
“Several distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been inundated with the request by members of the public concerning the pendency of a National Grazing Bill in the Senate.
“This is to clarify that no such Bill has been presented by the Executive arm of Government and none has so far been filed by any Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, a “National Grazing Reserve Establishment and Development Commission Bill’ (SB. 60) was presented by Senator Zainab Kure (Niger Central) during the 7th Senate (2011 – 2015) which has now expired by the operations of law on the 6th June 2015 in furtherance of Section 64(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
Earlier at the plenary, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) had raised a point of order explaining that he had received more than one thousand calls from his constituents with regards to the grazing reserve bill and had been accused by some of his constituents of being an absentee senator when the said the bill was not before the Senate.
Senator Abaribe also made it known that he had to seek for clarification from the clerk of the Senate who confirmed that there was no such bill contrary to reports in the media. Abaribe said:
“Mr. President, I sought your leave and you gave me permission. This personal explanation has to do with several phone calls I received. If I have not gotten calls, I got more than 1,000 calls over the weekend. This has to do with something that is not before the Senate; a phantom thing that is not before the Senate. Something called the Grazing Reserve Commission Bill.
“Many people are calling me. Some people are sending me text messages to the extent that when I explained to some of my constituents who called me that there was no such Bill in the Senate, they turned round and said that the only reason you are saying so is that you never go to the Senate, you must be absentee-member.
“When I asked where is this information coming from, they said the information is coming from the social media.
“Mr. President, the last time a grazing reserve commission bill came to this Senate was in the 7th Senate and was proposed by Senator Zainab Kure, (wife of a former Niger State governor) who is no longer in the Senate.
“So the reason why I am making this personal explanation is so that my constituents in Abia South will know that there is no such bill called Grazing Reserve Commission Bill before this Senate.
“I have taken time to ask the clerk and every other person to say, where is this bill that has passed second reading?
“So I would like the chairman of Committee on Rules and Business to tell this Distinguished Senate whether he passed the bill in our absence when we were not all sitting here and it went through second reading before it got here. That is all I have to say over this, Mr. President.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was presiding at the time, noted the observation of the senator. Omoworare later issued the statement denying the existence of the grazing reserve bill.