President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has vowed that he would push for the Federal Government supports of livestock business in order to ease the problems that those who run the industry suffer from time to time. Speaking during the flag off of the Free Mass Animal Vaccination which he sponsors every year, since 2018, for his constituents in Yobe North Senatorial District, Yobe State, Lawan made a strong case for those engaged in livestock business to be assisted by the Federal government. He said that it has become imperative against the backdrop that there are so many private businesses including banks that are supported by government. Lawan said that with this, the livestock sector and those who man it deserve the support of government particularly the Federal government. This year’s flag off ceremony held on Saturday at Jajuwa in Jakusko Local Government Area. In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Ola Awoniyi, the President of the Senate in his remarks at the flag off ceremony, said “it is our belief here that the livestock industry in Nigeria is one of the biggest contributors to the economy of Nigeria.
“And it is only fair that the livestock industry is supported by government because we benefit immensely from this sector of our economy and it is unfair for anyone to say that livestock industry is private business and therefore should not be supported. That is unfair. We have so many private businesses including banks that are supported by government. And therefore our livestock sector and those who man it deserve the support of government particularly the Federal government. And I will push for that, that this industry is supported by government to ease the problems that those who run the industry suffer from time to time. Today we are here to flag off the livestock vaccination for our livestock, our cattle, cows, our sheep, our goats and other smaller animals. This has been an annual event and this year is not different. Last year we set a target of about a million cows and about 500 smaller animals like sheep and goats particularly. This year we are going to do the same or even slightly higher than that in number. What is also different this year is that we are going to increase our support to our Fulani herdsmen and livestock rearers.”
The free Veterinary Services cover Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP), Peste Petits des Ruminants(PPR) and treatment and medication of minor illnesses. The Senate had on 10th November, 2016, rejected a controversial bill seeking to establish Grazing Management Agency that will ensure the creation of grazing areas across the country. Sponsored then by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso who represented Kano Central, the bill was withdrawn along with two other similar bills sponsored by then Senator Barnabas Gemade who represented Benue North-East and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North). While Gemade’s bill sought to establish National Ranches Commission for Regulation, Preservation and Control of Ranches, Utazi’s bill sought to control keeping and movement of cattle in Nigeria. However, after Kwankwaso made a presentation to the Senate on his bill, it was found to have completely different objectives from those of Gemade and Utazi and because of the controversy the bill had earlier generated across the country, the then President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, asked the then Senate Leader Ali Ndume, Borno South to move a motion for the bill to be withdrawn.
The withdrawal of the bills was based on explanations by Senator Ike Ekweremadu when he was the Deputy President of the Senate, just as he said then that the Senate lacked the power to legislate on grazing matters which the bills set out to pursue. Ekweremadu who noted then that only states have powers to legislate on grazing matters and livestock animals, adding that since the matter was neither in the exclusive nor concurrent list, the National Assembly lacked the power to legislate on the matter, had said: “The issues at stake here are neither in the exclusive list nor in the concurrent list. I believe therefore that it is a residual matter. It is for states to decide how to deal with it. “I believe the matter here concerns everybody, given the level of carnage and the conflicts going on in different states. So, I feel the concern of my colleagues but unfortunately we do not have powers to legislate on matters relating to livestock in this Assembly. It is a matter reserved for the states. So, I believe that the bills for Senators Kwankwaso, Gemade and Utazi are beyond the reach of this National Assembly and should be accordingly withdrawn so that the states under the constitution should be able to deal with the matters which the constitution has prescribed for them. I will like to see somebody to show me anywhere in the exclusive list or concurrent list that has given us powers to legislate on this matter because they are not in existence.”
Also in his remarks, Ndume threw his weight behind Ekweremadu, however urged his colleagues to withdraw the bill without being emotional about it, saying if the Senate lacked the legislative authority to legislate on the bills, it made no sense considering them at all. Ndume who reminded his colleagues of the implication of allowing the bills to scale second reading, explaining how Order 81 of the Senate Standing Orders provides that any bill which passes second reading in the house must be committed to a standing committee for further legislation, had said that since it was unconstitutional of them to consider the bill, it was in their own interest.”Also at the weekend, Awoniyi in the statement said that the Senate President flagged off the fifth Annual Medical Outreach for his people in Yobe North which is being sponsored by his foundation, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan Foundation(SAIL). The outreach, which was also started in 2018, covers free medical services for eye treatment, surgical services, Gynecological check up and surgeries for families and free screening for clinical cancer for women
Lawan flaged off the programme for this year at the Yobe State Specialist Hospital, Gashua and Federal Medical Centre, Nguru. The Senate President said this year outreach would accommodate about 5000 beneficiaries for various ailments. “We have just witnessed how those who had surgeries on their eyes now can see. Some of them for four years, they have not been able to use their eyes to see anything. This year free annual medical outreach marks the fifth edition, which is a legacy project. In line with our tradition and resolve, the SAIL Foundation, as part of our convenant with the good of Yobe North Senatorial District, we will continue to scale up the number of beneficiaries of both initiatives,” Lawan said. The Senate President said the initiative was to complement the efforts of the state and federal government and pledged to sustain the programme whether still in public service or out of public service. Speaking at the flag off ceremony at Nguru, the Acting Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, Dr Adamu Abdullahi who spoke of the tremendous impact of the medical outreach on the people, “These continuous interventions have reduced the prevalence of the disease burden. The impact is both direct and indirect. The quality of lives of many beneficiaries had improved and the effect on their families is very noticeable and the community is appreciative.”