Senate Divided Over Bill To Transfer Fulani Herders To Their Original State

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A contentious bill aimed at establishing the National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission has sparked heated debate in the Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Titus Tartenger Zam from Benue State, during plenary on Thursday, seeks to relocate Fulani herders to their states of origin.

However, Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau, vehemently opposed the bill, citing constitutional concerns.

Barau argued that the bill violates the right to freedom of residence guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution, emphasizing that individuals should not be forced to leave their chosen places of residence.

He shared personal experiences, noting that he and other lawmakers have benefited from living in areas outside their states of origin.

The Senator cautioned that implementing the bill would be challenging, as many Fulani herders may not know their states of origin or have lived in their current locations for generations.

Barau engaged in a 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 urged the Senate to step down the bill for further consultation and remove the controversial provision.

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.

“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.”

While other Senators supported the bill, Barau’s opposition highlighted the sensitive nature of the issue.

The debate underscores the ongoing tensions surrounding Fulani herders and their role in Nigerian society.

As the Senate continues to deliberate on the bill, the fate of the National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission and the Fulani herders remains uncertain…..Çheck More

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