The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has banned grazing and rearing of cattle in the state, saying those interested in cattle farming should get their own private cattle ranches.
The governor announced this when he visited Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government Area of the state where some residents of the town were attacked on Friday night by criminals suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Two persons died from the attack while three others are receiving treatment in separate private hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ado Ekiti.
Fayose was accompanied by the state Commissioner of Police, Etop James; the Director of Department of State Services; and the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Don Ikemefuna.
He said a bill to criminalise the movement of cattle from one location to another in the state would soon be sent to the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The governor warned that the government would henceforth confiscate any cattle seen anywhere in the state apart from in ranches created for them by their owners.
He said, “We will not leave our lands for Fulani herdsmen and in a system where the leadership of the country looks the other way while our people are being killed, we will have no option but to defend ourselves by whatever means.
“I have come here to commiserate with the people of Oke Ako over the murder of two of our people by these evil Fulani herdsmen. I am also here to assure the people that this will be the last time your community will be invaded by Fulani herdsmen under whatever guise.
“I have directed that cattle rearing and grazing should stop in Ekiti State and those interested in cattle farming should henceforth do so in their own cattle ranches.
“No more movement of cattle from one location to another in the state and any cattle seen anywhere in Ekiti State apart from the ranch created for them by their owners will be confiscated by the government and their owners will be prosecuted.
“A bill to this effect will be sent to the House of Assembly for passage into law to criminalise cattle owners whose cattle are found moving from one location to the other in the state.”
Fayose alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari, as the patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, had refused to caution the herdsmen.
“We, in Ekiti will no longer harbour herdsmen who go about killing our people, destroying our farmlands and raping our women.
“If the same President Buhari that was so concerned about the killing of Fulani herdsmen in Saki, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, such that he, as a private citizen, led Arewa (Consultative Forum) to Ibadan on October 13, 2000, to confront the then governor of Oyo State, the late Alhaji Lam Adesina, is now keeping silent when the same herdsmen are killing our people, we must rise and defend ourselves.
“It is our duty to protect our people and we are going to do that without fear or favour.”
The Onirele of Irele, Oba Bamidele Adesogan, who spoke on behalf of the kings that received the governor, said the crisis with the herdsmen had been recurring.
“We still need an amendment. There is not much we can do. The idea of the police refusing to go with us into the bush is an impediment. There is no way we can confront these people without some form of violence.
“They rape our women and children, and cut our cassava to feed their cows in our presence and we can’t challenge them. When you meet these people in the forest they are not gentle at all,” he said.
The representative of the Association of Hunters, Joseph Osasona, complained that the police had not allowed them to carry arms.
He said, “We can’t engage these people without carrying arms. We know where the people stay, we know their hideouts.”
The governor announced a donation of N2.5m to the families of the victims and another N2.5m to support the hunters and the vigilance groups.
He also promised to provide a patrol vehicle to the vigilance group to support them in their surveillance duty.