Anyone interested in cattle rearing in Ekiti must register with State Government through traditional rulers, Governor Ayodele Fayose declared on Thursday.
The governor spoke this during the signing of an agreement between the state government and Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in Ado Ekiti.
At the peace parley meeting held in the presence of traditional rulers and leaders of Fulani communities, Fayose ordered the release of nine cows earlier seized by his government for illegal grazing.
Fayose had on August 29 signed a grazing law entitled, “Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016.”
Under the law, anyone found violating the bill, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to six months in prison without an option of fine.
The law also provides that any farm products destroyed by the activities of any caught herdsman shall be estimated by agricultural officer and the expenses of the estimate shall be borne by the culprit.
Despite threats from MACBAN to wage war against the state, the governor had inaugurated the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals with a warning that cattle found grazing after 6pm would be confiscated by the state government.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, the governor said he called for a broader meeting to carry all the stakeholders along in the implementation of the grazing law.
He added that those playing politics with the controversy that initially trailed the implementation of the law were only being mischievous.
He said, ”You are all my brothers and there is no reason to trouble you. Many among you have been here for long and your families are here too. What we are doing today is to ensure peaceful relationship between you, your host communities and the state government.
“Those killed in Oke Ako are gone and can’t be alive again and we should not allow a repeat of such terrible incident. We are not asking for much, just for you to obey our law. The law is not targeted at those who obey the law. You have to register with the traditional ruler of your host community.
”It is you who will inform the monarch of new faces coming to join you or pretending to be herdsmen. Going armed will not be tolerated. No form of weapon is allowed in Ekiti State for cattle rearing. A company will be monitoring your activities from the air. They have done air surveillance of Ijero Forest Reserve and we saw some buildings deep down the forest. We must all be security conscious,” he noted.
Fayose gave a 14-day ultimatum for the registration of herdsmen and to be forwarded to the state government.
He ordered the immediate release of cows already seized by the Grazing Marshals, but warned that any further violation of the law would not be tolerated.