Concise News Correspondents
The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has inaugurated the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals. The inauguration, which took place on Thursday in Ekiti State government house, is designed to enforce a new law prohibiting open grazing by cattle in the state.
The police, the army, NSCDC, traditional rulers, local hunters and as well as other residents attended the event.
Mr. Fayose gave directives to the Marshals to rid the state of the menace of herdsmen. He also said that he would not fold his arms and watch the killing of the people of Ekiti State and their sources of livelihood destroyed under the guise of cattle rearing.
The governor insisted that in Ekiti, those who want to practice cattle farming, must do so at designated locations.
“Supporters and beneficiaries of open grazing have argued that cows, like human beings have rights to move freely in any part of Nigeria. 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 like the cattle farmers.
“The reality we must all face is that cattle farming is not different from fish farming, snake farming, poultry farming, and also snail farming.
“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 also feed their cows without encroaching on other people’s farmlands.”
Confiscation of cows
Stiff punishment awaits any erring herdsmen in Ekiti State under the Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti State Law, 2016.
The governor reads out the riot act, “In line with the law, any cow found destroying people’s farmlands will be confiscated and sold. The people whose farmlands were destroyed will get the proceeds. Herdsmen found with arms will face terrorism charge.
“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. They should ensure 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 also 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.”