EKITI State governor Ayo Fayose has revealed that any cattle herdsman caught grazing in the state with arms or in possession of any weapon will be charged with terrorism and prosecuted accordingly.
Of late, Fulani cattle herdsmen have been at war with farming communities across the country, clashing frequently with villagers as disputes over grazing rights have got ugly. Ekiti State has been among the numerous states in the country affected by the menace and Governor Fayose has called on local people to defend themselves against the herdsmen.
Speaking yesterday after signing a bill titled Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016, into law, Governor Fayose said that the state government will not be lenient with the herders from now on. He revealed this during a meeting with traditional rulers and chiefs at Government House in the state capital Ado Ekiti.
Hon Kolawole Oluwawole, the speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, read the bill to the gathering, hinting that the state government was already planning to allocate land for grazing in all its local government areas. While signing the bill into law, Governor Fayose said the purpose of the meeting was to seek collaboration with the traditional rulers and chiefs on security issues and other crimes in the state.
Governor Fayose added: “My government took the bill to the House after what happened in Oke Ako a few months ago. The House has passed the bill and I have to give my assent to it.
“It becomes a law from today that if you do anything to the contrary, you will be punished according to the law. Any herdsman caught with firearms or any weapon while grazing in Ekiti now will be charged with terrorism.”
Giving insights into the bill, Hon Oluwawole said grazing activities must be from 7am to 6pm on a daily basis. He added that the government shall allot a certain portion of land to each local government for grazing and anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by the government shall be apprehended and made to face the law.
“Any herdsman caught with firearms and any weapons whatsoever during grazing shall be charged with terrorism. Any cattle confiscated shall be taken to the government cattle ranch at Erifun in Iworoko community.
“Any farm products destroyed by the activities of any caught herdsman shall be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be borne by the culprit. Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall be imprisoned for six months without an option of fine,” Hon Oluwawole added.