OrderPaperToday – There was a heated argument on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Tuesday over a bill seeking to protect donkeys.
Titled, ‘Bill for an Act to Regulate the Slaughter of Donkeys and Ranching of Donkeys through the Export Certification Value Chain to Mitigate the Extinction of Donkeys, 2021,’ sought to declare donkeys as an endangered species in Nigeria.
The bill which was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, seeks to regulate the slaughtering of donkeys and establish the breeding and ranching of donkeys because according to Sen. Yahaya, the indiscriminate slaughtering of donkeys for the purpose of harvesting its skin, has greatly depleted the national herd of the animal.
Raising a point of order, in his contribution, Senator Eyinanya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) warned the Senate against breaking the law for “residual matters” that are the responsibilities of the state or local governments.
“We do not break laws for residual matters that are left for the states and local governments as the case may be.
“We are to make laws exclusively based on what is determined in the constitution. Livestock and matters of that nature are not expressly provided for in the constitution”, he said.
Senator Ajibola Bashiru (APC, Osun), who is Senate Spokesman, supported the minority leader by Kicking against the bill, saying that a matter is desirable, does not mean the Senate can legislate on it.
“For record proposes, the fact that a matter is deemed necessary, does not automatically confer on the federal legislative act and legislative competence.
“Section 1(3) is clear. That any law contrary to the provision of the constitution is to the extent of that urgency null and void. The basis of our existence and power is the constitution.
“By section 4(7) any matter not in the concurrent list is a matter for the states. It is beyond whether donkeys are going extinct or not…The fact that a subject matter is listed on the concurrent list, the federal government has the power to make the law. No”, he said.
On his part, the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) said the bill is necessary owing to the concern that donkeys in the country may go extinct.
“Every country should be concerned about their flora and fauna and the balance of the ecosystem. In the same constitution, the federal government is given the right to research.
“This is research work. And this bill is based on that…when you don’t want something to go into extinction. We are talking about conservation management”, he stated.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, ruled that it was within their jurisdiction to legislate on the issue and ruled they should go ahead and take the bill.
After the bill passed second reading, Lawan said that the Senate was concerned about the extinction of donkeys and how it “affects the ecosystem”.
The Senate President referred the bill to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to report back in two weeks.
The committee is expected to organise a public hearing before its report would be presented on the floor of the Senate for eventual consideration and approval.