The state of Osun Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Ajibola Basiru, has said the state will head for court should the National Assembly pass the National Grazing Reserve (Establishment) Bill 2016 into law.
The bill, which is reportedly before the House of Representatives, aims to address the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country by establishing the Nigerian Grazing Reserve Commission, which shall have power to, among others, establish one cattle reserve in each state of the federation.
But the bill has attracted criticisms in some quarters by those who hold the view that since cattle rearing is a private business, herdsmen should provide their own ranches rather than the government taking land from others and giving it to them.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, the state of Osun Attorney General, Basiru, said his state would not support such a bill and would not hesitate to challenge its legality in court should it be passed by the National Assembly.
Basiru, who said Osun was patiently waiting for the National Assembly to pass the bill before it would go to court, expressed the hope that even if the bill is passed, President Muhammadu Buhari would be well advised not to assent to it.
He said, “Until the bill is passed into law, will it not be premature to say that you are challenging a bill that has not been passed into law and then prejudice even the hearing of the application on its merit? I will tell you that the day the bill is assented to, the State of Osun will be the first to challenge it in court. But I think for now, it will be premature and we won’t want to be assailed by the argument that the case is either academic or premature. But one hopes that the President will be advised, even when the lawmakers passed the bill, to refuse assent to the law on the grounds of unconstitutionality.”