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Ekiti Conducts Public Hearing On Grazing Bill, Plans To Build Cattle Ranches

EKITIEkiti State government will build cattle ranches across the three
senatorial districts of the state. This was made known by the
honorable member representing Ikole constituency 1, Hon. Gboyega
Aribisogan during a public hearing organized by the joint committees
on agriculture and environment on a bill to regulate and control
cattle grazing in Ekiti State at the hallowed chamber of the state
house of assembly, Ado Ekiti on Wednesday. The hearing had in
attendance traditional rulers, representatives from the Agriculture,
Environment and Justice ministries. Other participants include
representative of security agencies, cattle rearers, vigilantes and
other members of the public.

Chairman of the committee and deputy speaker of the Ekiti State House
of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adewumi Olusegun while declaring the public
hearing open recalled how incessant attack on residents of Ekiti by
herdsmen in recent time had drawn the attention of Ekiti State
government and the need to control their activities. Hon. Adewumi who
said the bill is first of its kind in the country expressed optimism
that the bill when passed into law will enhance protection of lives of
Ekiti people.

Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Obas and Ologotun of Ogotun Ekiti,
HRM Oba Oyebade Oladapo in his remarks highlighted some of the hovocs
wrecked in time past by herdsmen and thanked the state government for
coming up with a bill of this nature which will no doubt save farmers
and residents from the nefarious activities of the herdsmen. Another
traditional ruler, the Elemure of Emure, Oba Adebayo Emmanuel called
for the creation of ranches for cattle rearers in the state, he also
called on the government to make available irrigation facilities for
farmers in the state.
A house member from Gbonyin LG, Hon. Fajemileyin in his remarks told
participants that the committee is not out to witch hunt anyone but to
prevent properties and lives of the people of Ekiti from destruction.

Permanent secretary of the Agric ministry, Engr. E. Abegunde in his
contribution said the problem is not limited to Ekiti State but
peculiar to the entire West African region. He narrated how farmers
develop high blood pressure consequent upon the destruction of their
crops by cattles and their rearers. The PS who said his ministry had
severally written to the Sultan, IG and other instrumentalities of the
federal government with no positive result to show for it urged
Nigerians to emulate other countries where animals are reared without
seen roaming the streets.

“There is justification for this action, cattle rearing should be seen
as private business such as snail rearing, piggery, poultry and so
on, modern technology should be adopted in the business, they should
be confined in ranches, the energy the cattles dissipates in transit
is converted to added weight which is an added advantage to the
rearer”, Abegunde said.

A Director in Forestry department, Mr. Akinola in his contribution
recounted how the herdsmen activities have rendered the ministry
incapacitated via wanton destruction of seedlings in the nurseries
across the state. He pleaded with the honorable house to pass the bill
in other to save the ministry from total collapse.

Executive chairman of Emure LG, Hon. Oguntuase prayed the house to
speedily pass the bill because farmers in their numbers across Ekiti
State are suffering inwardly. He lamented that many of the farmers
after farming with loans accessed in banks or other cooperative
societies see their produce trampled upon, destroyed or devoured by
cattles. He called on the house to input stiff penalty as punishment
for those who go against the bill when it becomes law.

The herdsmen, represented by their legal adviser, Barr. Umar Imam
agreed with the state government that there should be control over
grazing in Ekiti but expressed reservations on some sections of the
bill. The lawyer who justified movements with cutlasses, knives and
catapults by rearers said he isn’t against the prosecution of any
herdsman found with AK-47. He urged the committee to have a second
look at the recommendations he submitted to the committee.

Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Ekiti
State, Zaiyanu Muhammed said the troublemakers are not indigenous
cattle rearers but those transiting from Niger Republic, Sokoto, Chad
and so on enroute Southern Nigeria. He said Ekiti is just a route and
their heinous activities are committed in Ekiti boundaries. He
suggested that the only solution to the problem is the creation of
Vigilante Group which will comprise the DSS, Police, NSCDC,
Immigration, Fulani Bororo, Fulani Ilorin amongst others to curb the
excesses of those in transit.

Hon. Titilayo Akerele representing Ikole Constituency 2 in the House
suggested that Nomadic corridors be established in the bill.

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