Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Thursday inaugurated the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals, to enforce a new law prohibiting open grazing by cattle in the state.
Mr. Fayose mandated the agency to rid the state of the menace of herdsmen, warning that he would not watch the killing of the people and their sources of livelihood destroyed under the guise of cattle rearing.
The inauguration, which took place at the government house, was attended by traditional rulers, the police, the army, NSCDC, local hunters and other residents.
The Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti State law states in part, that “no person shall cause or permit any cattle or other ruminants belonging to him or under his control to graze on any land in which the Governor has not designated as ranches, no cattle or other ruminants shall by any means move or graze at night and that cattle movement and grazing are restricted to the hours between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm”.
The law prescribes punishments for offenders. Herdsmen found in possession of firearms and other offensive weapons can be charged with terrorism, and would be made to pay for property or farm products destroyed by the cattle.
The law also gives the government powers to confiscate erring cattle.
Mr. Fayose said 5,000 cows could not be equated with the lives of human beings killed daily by herdsmen across the country.
He said only timid and compromised leaders would allow their people to be killed while they fold their arms on the altar of politics.
“Supporters and beneficiaries of open grazing have argued that cows, like human beings have rights to move freely in any part of Nigeria and one question I have always asked is; what happens if poultry farmers, pig farmers, ostrich farmers or even snake farmers decide to exercise this same rights to freedom of movement of their animals?” said Mr. Fayose.
“Imagine a situation where snake farmers also release their snakes to the streets and other people’s farmlands to look for what to eat as being done by cattle farmers.
“The reality we must all face is that cattle farming is not different from fish farming, snake farming, poultry farming, snail farming, etc.
“Therefore, if fish farmers are providing their own ponds and poultry farmers building their own pens, while also buying feed for their animals, there is no reason cattle farmers should not also provide their own ranch and feed their cows without encroaching on other people’s farmlands.”
He insisted that in Ekiti, those who want to practice cattle farming, must do so at designated locations.
“In line with the law, any cow found destroying people’s farmlands will be confiscated and sold with proceeds handed to people whose farmlands were destroyed while herdsmen found with arms will face terrorism charge,” he declared.
“The police and other security agencies have the duty to enforce the Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti State Law, 2016 as well as other laws duly made by the State, by seeing to it that offenders are arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“To complement the police and other security agencies, we have set up the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals (EGEM), trained them and have them well equipped. I therefore inaugurate them today and urge them to perform their duties in the overall interest of Ekiti State and its people.”
Via Premium Times