Members of the umbrella body of cattle owners, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), will now be part of the patrol teams to enforce the new law to regulate grazing in Ekiti State.
Governor Ayodele Fayose gave the directive on Tuesday at a meeting with the leadership of MACBAN where both parties ironed out ‘grey’ areas in the enforcement of the Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing Act 2016.
MACBAN leaders had requested to be part of the patrol of Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals (EGEM) to enforce the law a request which was granted by Fayose who declared that he is not against the interest of Fulani people or any other ethnic group in the country.
The meeting, which took place at the Government House, had Ekiti State executive of MACBAN and representatives from across the local governments in the state in attendance.
Fayose said: “I have nothing against you or any other ethnic group. Nobody should bring politics into this matter. If a Yoruba person destroys your property I will defend you too.
“Leaders are not supposed to discriminate and as a leader, I don’t discriminate. The law of the land is not against anybody who obeys it but those who flout it. It is people destroying other people’s farms that are causing this problem.
“We have given lands to people to farm and they have paid, some for many years to use the lands and when somebody now comes and destroys their means of livelihood and make them suffer losses, we won’t allow that.
“It is the bad people that make others suffer. If anybody says Fayose is after Hausa or Fulani people, that person has no sense. During my first term, I appointed a man from Malumfashi as a Special Adviser. This term too, I appointed Musa Kanga into the Pilgrims Welfare Board.
“In Oke Ako-Ekiti last May, two persons were killed, people’s wives raped by those hiding under the guise of rearing cattle. I have 83 cows too and I have told the person taking care of them that if he goes against the law and any of them is seized, he will be responsible for that.”
Governor Fayose also emphasized against rearing cows along major roads and city centres, saying that had caused fatal vehicular accidents in the past.
He explained: “If you have not been to London or America, I guess some of you have been to Mecca, did you see cattle breeders leading their cattle across city centres and major roads, with the cows defecating everywhere? This is not done and it is not that the people in those places don’t have cows they breed too.”
On the demand by the MACBAN leaders that they be part of the patrol teams to enforce the law, the governor acceded and commended their effort to support his administration in getting rid of bad eggs among the cattle breeders.
The Ekiti State MACBAN chairman, Alhaji Muhammad Nasamu, commended the governor for his frankness and openness.
Nasamu noted that the meeting had disabused the minds of his members about wrong information being circulated by some people about the governor and the state government.
He said: “Seeing you face to face and hearing from you has quelled all the strange stories we are hearing. Leaders from across the federation have been calling me saying where are you and that they have been hearing funny stories from the state, but now we know the truth. Ekiti is my home and anybody who spoils the name of Ekiti is spoiling my name.
“Today that we have met, we are suggesting that farmers and Fulani rearers be part of the marshals who will patrol across the state.
When that is done, there will no longer be any trouble. Those in the office don’t know what is happening in the bush and we will try and bridge the communication gap.”