The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria have appealed to the Federal Government and security agencies to wade into what it describes as an unprovoked aggression against its members in Ekiti State under the guise of enforcing restriction laws against cattle breeders.
In a statement by the National Secretary of the Association, Baba-Othman Ngelzarma, says members of the association were attacked by the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshal by 2.30p.m. local time on Friday when the law allowed cattle breeders to move about with their cattle till 6:00p.m.
The association called on the Ekiti State government to compensate its members who list five cows to the activities of the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals, claiming that the officials operated outside the stipulated time recommended by the Ekiti Grazing Bill.
The Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, had in August signed an Anti- Grazing bill into law in a bid to curtail the alleged inordinate activities of herdsmen.
The Governor described as ‘shameful’ the practice of herdsmen rearing cows in cities, including the nation’s capital, Abuja
Governor Fayose also threatened to charge any cattle rearer found in the state carrying arms while grazing with terrorism.
After the signing the bill into law, he told stakeholders and leaders of communities across the 16 local government areas of the state in Ado Ekiti, the State’s capital, that the recent killings and attack on the people of Oke Ako Community in Ikole Local Government Areas of the state by suspected herdsmen was unfortunate.
The Act was read to the Assembly of all traditional rulers, chiefs and legislators by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole. It prohibits the activities of herdsmen in the state.
According to him, the state government is already working with local
government officials for the allocation of portions of land for grazing to all
local government authorities in the state.
The Speaker also gave the highlights of the Anti-Grazing Law, revealing that “grazing activities must be from 7:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. local time daily.
In the new law, anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by government would be apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.
The Anti-Grazing Law also provides that any herdsman caught with firearms or other weapons during grazing activities would be charged with terrorism and their cattle confiscated.
It also says that farm produce destroyed by the activities of any caught herdsman would be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be levied on the culprit.
Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall face six months’ imprisonment without option of fine, the law also stipulates.
Governor Fayose while appending his signature on the Anti-Grazing bill said passing the bill into law was borne out of his desire to interface with the traditional chiefs on security issues bedevilling the state.
Ajayi Ayodele, who spoke for the community, commended the Governor for signing the bill into law.