Anti-Grazing Bill: Fayose to Charge Erring Herdsmen with Terrorism

  •  Signs anti-grazing bill into law

Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti

In a bid to curtail the activities of rampaging herdsmen in Ekiti State, Governor Ayodele Fayose has threatened to charge any erring cattle rearers found in the state with terrorism.

This followed his signing into law a bill recently passed by the state House of Assembly known as:the Anti-grazing bill, geared towards criminalising open and unbridled grazing in the state.

This came to the fore following violent attack on Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government Area in May by suspected herdsmen, which led to the killing of two indigenes with many others injured.

The governor made the statements in Ado Ekiti yesterday during a meeting with the traditional chiefs in Ekiti State to give a vivid account of the state of the state, where he also assented to the bill.

The bill was read to the congregation of all traditional chiefs by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Kolawole Oluwawole, yesterday, saying the state government is already working with local government officials to allot 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 7am to 6pm on a daily basis.

“The government shall allot certain portion of land to each local governments 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 the government’s cattle ranch at Erifun in Iworoko community.

“Any farm products destroyed by the activities of any caught 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.”

Fayose, while assenting to the bill, 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 he recognised 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, Fayose 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 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 forum also gave room for the government to present achievements of the Ayo Fayose administration to the chiefs and also presented a rundown 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.