Fayose inaugurates Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals to arrest stubborn herdsmen
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, on Thursday in Ado-Ekiti inaugurated the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals with a warning that cattle found grazing after 6pm would be arrested.
He said the marshalls were not to carry arms but had been trained and equipped to complement the police and other security agencies to tackle recalcitrant armed herdsmen.
The governor, who said there must be a stop to the killing of innocent people and their means of livelihood being taken away, added that 10,000 cattle could not compensate for the life of human being lost to conflict between herdsmen and local farmers.
”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 a man is helpless and is depending on peasant farming and the gains of the farming are taken away in a jiffy, that is condemnable.
“I’m going to stand in the gap to bring to a permanent end, the situation whereby some people take away the means of livelihood of others.
“It is only when you have peace that your business can be peaceful. Police can only do a bit if they have information.
“We have taken it upon ourselves to champion this course of grazing control because no responsible leader will sit back and watch when his people are being killed, their wives and daughters being raped and their sources of livelihood being destroyed under the guise of cattle rearing.
“Some people go as far as grazing in the night when farmers are no longer in their farms. Any cattle found grazing after the time stipulated by the law will be confiscated by the government. Such cattle will be slaughtered on the spot and shared to people as part of our Stomach Infrastructure programme,” he said.
The governor 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.
Fayose had on August 29 signed a grazing law entitled, “Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016.”
Under the law, anyone found violating the bill, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to six months in prison without an option of fine.
The law provides 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 7am and 6pm.”
The law also provides that any farm produce destroyed by the activities of any caught herdsman shall be estimated by an agricultural officer and the damages paid for by the culprit.