A bill that would establish a database for cows is currently being debated on the Senate floor.
Bima Enagi (APC, Niger South) is the sponsor of a bill to create a national livestock and management (protection, control, and management) bureau, which received a second reading on Tuesday, April 20.
The bill establishes the National Livestock Bureau for the purposes of livestock identification, traceability, registration, cattle rustling control, and livestock disease control, in order to address the problem of animal identification and management.
Enagi, who claimed that the lack of a management system has prevented Nigeria from participating in the export of meat and other dietary products, said the bill aims to indicate ownership and discourage rustling, as well as collect genetic information on animals and enhance the ability to track them.
“Livestock identification” refers to the practice of keeping records of individual farm animals or groups of farm animals so that they can be tracked more easily from birth to slaughter.
Senator Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North – APC), who supports the bill, says that enacting it is critical to achieving the current government’s economic diversification goals and resolving the herders-farmers conflict.
Senator Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya (APC, Katsina Central) on the other hand, believes that being able to track livestock would dramatically reduce cattle rustling, which he claims is worsening banditry in the northern region.
Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South) called the bill “one of the best legislation” introduced in the chamber, especially in light of the country’s lingering insecurity crisis.
Senator Bashir Ajibola (APC, Osun Central) raised a constitutional point of order questioning whether the National Assembly has the authority to legislate on the issue, but Senator Na’Allah and Senate President Ahmad Lawan overruled him (Yobe North – APC).
The bill was passed for a second reading and referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, which has four weeks to report back. The Eighth Senate had previously passed a similar bill for a third reading, but it was never signed into law.