Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has declared that any cow confiscated under the State Grazing Regulation Law will be slaughtered and shared to the people as part of the “Stomach Infrastructure” policy of his administration.
The governor who disclosed this on Thursday in Ado Ekiti during the inauguration of Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals (EGEM) said herdsmen caught grazing their cattle beyond the 6.00 pm risks six months jail while their animals will be confiscated.
Fayose explained that the setting up of the EGEM force was a further step to nip the killing of innocent people and destruction of their means of livelihood by armed herdsmen in the bud.
The EGEM men thrilled the audience with their parade while local hunters also performed at the ceremony. Some of the marshals displayed placards some of which read “No To Terrorism By Herdsmen”, Fayose Is Working, Ekiti Is Moving”, among others.
Fayose who were an olive green long sleeve shirt with a camouflage fez cap to match explained that the marshals are not to carry arms and therefore would collaborate with security agencies empowered by law to carry arms to tackle armed cattle rearers.
He said: ”We have a right to life and to survive and holding things for our survival especially peasant farmers, whose means of livelihood are taken away by cattle feeding on their crops. If the gains of peasant farmers are taken away in a jiffy, that is condemnable.
“We will bring to a permanent end, the situation whereby some people take away the means of livelihood of others.
“On August 29, 2016, the Anti-Grazing Bill was passed by the House of Assembly and the bill was signed into law by me on August 30. Some people go as far as grazing in the night when farmers are no longer at their farms.
“Any cattle found grazing after the time stipulated by the law will be confiscated by the government.Such cattle will be sold or killed on the spot and shared to people as part of our Stomach Infrastructure programme,” he said.
The governor had Wednesday last week personally stopped open grazing along Afao Road and supervised the “arrest” of a cow on his way to commissioning projects in Ikole Ekiti.
Fayose contended that 10, 000 cattle could not compensate for the life of the human being lost to a conflict between herdsmen and local farmers.
While frowning at cattle rustling by some people, Fayose added that the law was in the interest of cattle rearers too, as their operations would be streamlined.
The governor added that the phone numbers of the marshals would be made public and warned the marshals against going beyond their mandate.
“This is not an opportunity to harass or intimidate innocent people. You are to enforce the law and not to break it. Anybody found going beyond his bounds would be dealt with accordingly,” he stressed.
In her opening remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Modupe Alade, said the law had helped in curbing incessant attacks on local farmers by herdsmen and feasting on crops by cattle.
The Chairman, Hunters Association, Ikole Local Government, Joseph Osasona, commended Fayose for the initiative.
Osasona recalled that it was the prompt intervention of the governor in Oke Ako-Ekiti early in the year when some armed herdsmen attacked the people, that sent a strong signal to lawbreakers to stay away from the state.
He noted that it was inhuman for anybody to jeopardise the lives and means of livelihood of others because he wants to rear cattle.