The Senate, on Tuesday, passed for third reading, a bill seeking to protect, control and ensure management of livestock in the country.
The Bill which was sponsored by Sen Bima Enagi, who said in the lead debate that the nation should establish a national bureau on livestock management.
The bill states for an Act to Establish National Livestock Management (Protection Control and Management e.t.c.) Bureau.
Senator Enagi said the bill seeks to solve the age-long challenge of animal identification and management by establishing the National Livestock Bureau for the purpose of livestock identification, traceability, registration, cattle rustling control, livestock disease control and other related matters.
“The essence is to safeguard our national livestock and sanitise the livestock industry.”
The nation has witnessed the killing of Nigerians of various age and tribes following herdsmen activities in various parts of the country escalating security concern, which noted the bill will address.
Herdsmen have overrun farm leading to conflict between farmers and herdsmen, a situation that has led to communal conflicts.
He argued that “Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy and a key sector to diversify the economy away from oil. The livestock sub-sector is an integral part of agriculture and vital to the socio-economic development of the country, though its productivity currently is very low.
“It accounts for one-third of Nigeria’s agricultural GDP, providing income, employment, meat, milk, leather, farm energy, manure, fuel, and transport.
“Recent estimates indicate that Nigeria’s national livestock comprises 18.4 million cattle, 43.4 million sheep, 76 million goats and 7.5 million pigs (FMARD, 2017).
“Majority of the animals are raised in extensive production systems comprising smallholders and nomadic herders. Large commercial holdings are currently rare but expanding.”
“Livestock identification (ID) refers to keeping records on individual farm animals or groups (e.g., flocks or herds) of farm animals so that they can be more easily tracked from their birth through the marketing chain to the table.
“Historically, livestock ID was intended to indicate ownership and prevent rustling. Today, livestock identification has been expanded to include information on the animal’s origins (e.g., birthplace, parentage, sex, breed, genetics) as well as traceability—the ability to trace an animal product back through the marketing chain to its source, while identifying those other animals or animal products with which it has come into contact.
“It should also be noted that, despite Nigeria having about 40 per cent of the entire cattle population of West Africa, the country cannot participate in the export of meat and other dairy products, due to the absence of a functional Animal Identification and Management System in Nigeria.”
Enagi further said that the movement of livestock and their products has increased the spread of diseases, increased the threat to human health and reduced consumer confidence in animal products.
“The Bureau when established will ensure the traceability of animal products into the country, in order to safeguard the lives of our people.
He noted that: “Aid intelligence gathering by security agencies towards mitigating the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers. International market access and trade, thereby diversifying the economy.
The National Data base would serve as a guide for policy formulation by Government. It would also ensure the regulation of participants in the livestock business.”
Before the passage of the bill Senator Ajibola Basiru told the Senate that the piece of legislation for which it wants to establish a bureau had a had constitutional limitation because the National legislature needed to respect the right of state legislatures to effect the law in their respective domain.