Amidst the heated debate at the red chamber, the bill to ban open grazing and establish a national agency for the regulation and management of ranches for herders in the country has scaled through a second reading. The bill was passed on Wednesday during the plenary after a majority of the senators supported it when the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, put it to vote. It is titled “A Bill for an Act to Establish National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation, and Control of Ranches throughout Nigeria; and for connected purpose, 2024.”
The bill was sponsored by Titus Zam (APC, Benue North-west).

Zam in his lead debate noted the increasing wave of violent conflicts that erupted from pastoralists and farmers' interaction in Nigeria. He said such conflicts had assumed a war-like dimension “with a far-reaching negative impact on the people and country as a whole.”

He said the Senate cannot afford to look on while the country burns into ashes as a result of violent clashes between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders.

The Senator said, “As stakeholders in the Nigeria project and elected representatives of the people, doing so would amount to abdication of our statutory and leadership responsibilities. He said the menace of farmers and herders crises could easily be cured through a legislative therapy banning open grazing in Nigeria.

Zam lamented that the Nigerian State had continued to pay lip service to the challenge of farmers' and herders' altercation without addressing it in concrete terms in line with international best practices of animal husbandry.

Danjuma Goje, senator representing Gombe Central, said ranches should not be established in only states that have herders. Goje argued that laws should not be made for a particular set of people.
Kicking against the bill, Kawu Sumaila, senator representing Kano central, said some factors cause the clashes between farmers and herders that have not been addressed.

Supporting the bill, Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia south, said farmers in the country are under threat.“This is the reason Nigeria is facing food insecurity,” Abaribe said.

Barau Jibrin, deputy senate president, said the bill should be stepped down for further consultation, but Zam refused to move a motion to that effect.

The senate president, thereafter, referred it to the Committees on Agriculture, Trade and Investment; and Judiciary and Legal Matters, Directing the committee to revert back to the upper chamber in one month.