Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Thursday, released nine cows arrested for contravening state’s anti-grazing law to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) after signing a peace pact with the leaders of the association.
The governor also gave the cattle farmers 14 days to register with traditional rulers in their respective communities where they are operating while the traditional rulers in such communities will forward same to the state government for documentation.
Fayose, however, stated that he released the cows to cement the relationship between the government, farmers and the Fulani herdsmen in the state warning that the 7am till 6pm grazing period stipulated in the law stands and that anyone who contravened it would face the full wrath of the law.
The cows were seized a couple of weeks ago by the recently inaugurated Ekiti State Grazing Enforcement Marshal for contravening anti-grazing law.
Fayose said: “I have decided to release these cows to strengthen our union. So, I expect you to comply with the law because after now; if you contravene the law, we will take appropriate sanctions against you”.
The governor also empowered the traditional rulers to enforce the grazing law in their domains and to apportion lands to herdsmen to do their businesses under a controlled situation.
“You can’t because you are rearing cows be destroying our farmlands. Our people rely on these farms to survive and the moment you are destroying them, then they will not be interested to go into farming and hunger will affect all of us”, he said.
Fayose threatened to deal with whoever harasses the cattle-rearers while doing their legitimate businesses, urging the leaders of Miyetti Allah to always report directly to him any case of intimidation and oppression against their members.
The South-West Chairman of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Mohammed Abass, warned the government at all levels against politicizing the crisis between his members and farmers in some states.
Abass, who said the cattle business is very profitable in the southwest, added that government politicizing the agriculture sector would destroy the business and this he said may have an adverse effect on the diversification process of the government.
“We want to appeal to the government to leave us out of politics. We are here to do our business and whatever crisis we have, I think we should be able to resolve it. But when issues that could be resolved are being politicized, then it assumes a dangerous dimension.
“Cattle business is profitable in the southwest. Many of us were born here and we have multi-million business which government can bank on and make enough revenues. So, we are pleading with Governor Fayose to ensure that this business thrives in Ekiti”, he pleaded.