Ekiti State governor Ayodele Fayose said that any herdsman caught grazing with arms or any weapon in Ekiti would now be charged with terrorism and be made to face the law.
This followed his signing into law a bill recently passed by the state House of Assembly: the anti-grazing bill, which was read to the congregation of all traditional chiefs and rulers in Ekiti by the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Hon. Kolawole Oluwawole on Monday.
The chiefs had been invited by the governor for the meeting at the Osuntokun Hall of the government house in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
According to Oluwawole, the state government is already working with local government officials to apportion portions of land for grazing to all local government authorities in the state. He also gave the highlights of the anti-grazing law as: “Grazing activities must be from 7am to 6pm on daily basis. The government shall allot certain portion of land to each local government for grazing. Anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by government shall be apprehended and made to face the law.
“Any herdsman caught with firearms and any weapons whatsoever during grazing shall be charged with terrorism. Any cattle confiscated shall be taken to government cattle ranch at Erifun in Iworoko community.
“Any farm products destroyed by the activities of any apprehended herdsman shall be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be borne by the culprit. Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall be imprisoned for six months without option of fine.”
Governor Fayose who signed the bill into law before the congregation of all the traditional chiefs and rulers invited for the meeting, said that the purpose of meeting with them was the importance of interfacing with the traditional chiefs on security issues in the state, development of the state, and anti-grazing law among others.
Fayose said that he recognized the need for his government to work with the chiefs to give valuable information on activities of those who plunder state resources such as trees, farmlands and others.
Speaking about the anti-grazing law, he said: “My government took the bill to the House after what happened in Oke-Ako some months ago. The House has passed the bill and I have to assent to it, it becomes a law from today that if you do anything to the contrary you will be punished by the law. Any herdsman caught with firearms or any weapon while grazing in Ekiti now will be charged with terrorism.
“I solicit for your support for this government to succeed. This is not about party politics and Ekiti should be our primary concern. I’ll continue to call you for this kind of meeting every three months to give accounts of governance.
“We want to involve stakeholders in the preparation of the budget, a bottom up approach, we want to maintain the lead of being ranked first as performing best in budget implementation as we did last year.”
The governor also gave room for an interactive session with the chiefs who used the opportunity to air their views.
The forum also gave room for the government to present achievements of the Ayo Fayose administration to the chiefs and also presented a run down of all the federal allocation that came to the state treasury since last year, with an indication that the state was having developmental challenges due to the continuous reduction in allocation coming from the federal government.