Herdsmen: Fayose raises alarm as Presidency urges calm

ayodele-fayose-newTHE Presidency yesterday appealed to cattle owners and Ekiti people to seek a common ground in finding a solution to the festering row between herdsmen and farmers.

The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, made the appeal yesterday when he met with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

At the meeting, MACBAN spokesman Baba Othman Ngelzarma said his group was not opposed to the new Ekiti grazing law but rejects a situation where Governor Ayo Fayose deliberately leads the constant attacks and killings of their cows.

He said his group may stop the supply of cattle and goats to Ekiti State.

“We are in support of the law stopping grazing from 6pm to 6am but oppose a situation where armed men shoot and kill our cattles during the day.

Ojudu thanked the association for the meeting.

He said in a democracy every opportunity for dialogue should be explored.

The special adviser said the symbiotic relationship between the herdsmen and the people should be explored.

Governor Ayo Fayose has alerted communities to the threat by MACBAN.

MACBAN, in a statement at the weekend, claimed that the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals (EGEM) on October 21, killed five cows.

Ngelzarma urged the Federal Government to intervene “before this macabre incident develops into a feud involving our members and the Ekiti State government”.

At a briefing at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, Fayose dismissed MACBAN’s claim that five cows were killed on Friday.

He said the cows are alive and in the government’s custody.

The governor accused the Federal Government of backing the herdsmen to attack communities.

Fayose said: “Four days after this threat was issued, the Federal Government is yet to act.

“The silence of the Federal Government has further confirmed the insinuation that there is a plot to support the herdsmen to invade some boundary towns and villages in Ekiti State.”

The governor continued: “I am therefore using this opportunity to put Ekiti people, especially residents of boundary towns, on red alert. Ekiti people must be prepared to defend their land against these Philistines, whose attributes and characters are extremism, violence, bloodshed and destruction.”

The governor said: “Why didn’t Miyetti Allah warn its members when they were killing Nigerians and destroying farmlands?

“Are their cows more important than human lives?

“To us in Ekiti, 5000 cows cannot be equated to human beings who are being killed daily by herdsmen across the country.

“MACBAN should know that cattle farmers are not different from other farmers.

“If they want to rear cows in Ekiti, they should do so in accordance with the laws of the state.

“After all, law prohibiting sale and consumption of alcohol was made in Kano State and the law is being enforced while Sharia Law made in some states in the North is also being enforced.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti State Bill that was signed into law on August 29 remains in force.

“MACBAN should tell its members to comply with this law by seeking from the government designated land for grazing, which the government is always willing to give.

“It is strange that the association kept silent when its members killed two people and injured several others in Oke-Ako in Ekiti State.”