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By Muyiwa Adeyemi
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has approved the request of leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the umbrella body of rearers, to have representation in the anti-grazing marshals.
This was the kernel of a meeting of the governor and MACBAN at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti where they fine-tuned some grey areas in the implementation of the state’s anti-grazing law.
Fayose, at the meeting, which had the state executive members of MACBAN and representatives from across the local councils in the state in attendance, specifically allayed the fears of the herdsmen and assured them that his government would protect their interest once it did not contravene the law of the land.
He said: “I have no reason to work against the interest of Fulani people or any other ethnic group in the country, but I have the mandate to protect the lives and property of everybody in the state.”
The governor expressed happiness that the leaders of MACBAN decided to contact the state government instead of listening to rumours being peddled around by the opposition, saying: “I have nothing against you or any other ethnic group. Nobody should bring politics into this matter. If a Yoruba person destroys your property, I will defend you too. Leaders are not supposed to discriminate and as a leader, I don’t discriminate. The law of the land is not against anybody who obeys it but those who flout it. It is people destroying other people’s farms that are causing this problem.
“We have given lands to people to farm and they have paid, some for many years to use the lands and when somebody now comes and destroys their means of livelihood and make them suffer losses, we won’t allow that. It is the bad people that make others suffer. If anybody says Fayose is after Hausa or Fulani people, that person has no sense. During my first term, I appointed a man from Malumfashi as a Special Adviser. This term too, I appointed Musa Kanga into the Pilgrims Welfare Board.”
On the claim that marshals appointed to enforce the anti-grazing law were shooting cows, the governor said it was untrue, adding that they were not armed.
On the demand by the MACBAN leaders that they be part of the patrol teams to enforce the law, the governor acceded and commended their effort to support his administration in getting rid of bad eggs among the cattle breeders.
The Ekiti MACBAN Secretary, Alhaji Zaiyanu Mohammed, who lauded the governor for giving his members audience and showing willingness to let them conduct their business in peaceful atmosphere, said they were also not in support of cows destroying people’s means of livelihood.He said that being part of the patrol teams, his members would be able to detect herdsmen with ulterior motives.
“Some cattle rearers passing through the state may want to perpetrate criminal acts, but our members, when they are part of the patrol teams, would be able to communicate with them and detect such people. When their vehicles are stopped, we will ask for their identity and anywhere they claim to come from, we have phone numbers of MACBAN leaders across the country and anyone not identified as our member by MACBAN leaders from wherever he claims to come from would be turned back or handed over to security agents,” he added.