The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has defended his decision to sign a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle in the state.
The Governor, who was speaking on Channels TV programme, Hard Copy, has further inaugurated a task force to enforce the law, insisting that he has a duty to do whatever he can to protect the lives of his people,
He stated that the entire Ekiti people are behind the bill as citizens came out in thousands to show their support for the government on the day the bill was passed.
Governor Fayose described as shameful the practice of herdsmen rearing cows in cities, including the nation’s capital, Abuja.
He recalled that while growing up, herdsmen were known to carry ordinary sticks with which they directed their cattle, therefore “anything that will involve you being armed, you should check it as soon as possible”
“When people take advantage of harmless people, people that gave you space to do your business; you feed on their farmlands, their crops and you harass them daily because you have weapons.
“Where are they finding these AK47? Who is behind it?
“Let me tell you very expressly, Nigeria is a federation. Everybody as responsible leaders must take steps to curtail excesses of anybody that wants to take the lives of your people. I was elected Governor to protect lives and property.
“If you are hiding under cattle rearing to take lives of my people, to sleep with their daughters, to take their wives by force because they know you can come in the night and harass them, that will not work.”
He said that the new anti-grazing law would require everyone who wants to practice the business in Ekiti state to register with government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We must give you space. You must tell us where you’re doing it.”
On the effectiveness of the new law in the state, Governor Fayose expressed joy that so far the law has been well adhered to and those who have flouted it have had their cattle impounded.
“You don’t rear cattle in my state after 6PM. I will have you arrested and take all the cows and we will turn some of them to stomach infrastructure immediately without delay.
“I will call the public, they will roast it. Those who do not have enough protein by themselves they cut the thigh, some take the arm and they enjoy.”
The Ekiti State Governor has also inaugurated the Ekiti Enforcement Marshals, who are vested with the responsibility of arresting cattle grazing within Ado Ekiti the state capital and other parts of the state are to ensure the restriction of cattle movement between 7am and 6pm.
With a charge to carry out their duties in the overall interest of Ekiti people, Fayose asked the enforcement marshals to prevent the re-occurrence of Fulani herdsmen attack in the state.