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Oyebanji threatens to punish errant herdsmen destroying crops

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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has threatened sanctions for herders that rear their cattle beyond the zone earmarked for them to graze.

Oyebanji said the state government owed it a responsibility to protect crop farmers from having their farms destroyed by cattle in a bid to achieve the state’s goal of food sufficiency and security.

The governor spoke in an address to traditional rulers on Friday during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the federal and Ekiti State governments for the upgrade of the State Specialists Hospital, Ikole to Federal Medical Centre.

He said, “It will not be good for our people to farm and at the point of reaping, that some people will bring cattle to gaze such. The reason I am speaking publicly here today is to send a message to the cattle rearers through our traditional rulers. We will go after them.

“We will provide where they would be grazing their herd for them. They should stay where we give them. I have given officials two weeks to get a place for them, they would be taken there. Any of the cattle rearers that leave the place would face the consequences.”

Oyebanji charged the traditional rulers to take seriously the issue of security and safety of lives and property, reminding them that it was in the local government area that bandits shot and killed two monarchs earlier in the year.

The governor said, “We must not allow that to happen again. It seems we have forgotten and we are relaxing. So I am challenging our royal fathers today, we can do it together because some of these herders are close to some of you.

“Please, plead with them. We don’t want to see their cattle where they would destroy other people’s crop farms. They should stay where we will provide for them.

“We cannot ask our young men and women to go into food crop production and allow them to lose their farms to herders. If some young men and women have now agreed to partner with government to go into farming, it is our responsibility to protect their farms.

“What we are doing in Ekiti is to put an end to hunger before next year. That is why we are providing incentives for our people to farm, so that the harvest can be stored and released to the market next year, so that prices will go down.

“If we do not farm, if we complain about hunger till eternity, if we do not produce, prices will continue to go up. So, if I have the support of the royal fathers, we can do it together.”

The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Ebenezer Boluwade, had on Thursday, while speaking on the need to avert farmers-herders clash in the state, said, “Things must be done in the right ways. You cannot leave your animals to go on the free range and destroy people’s farms. That is not welcome in the new Ekiti that we are in.”

Boluwade spoke at a training on ‘Conflict, Dialogue and Resolution to Promote Social Cohesion between Crop Farmers and Livestock Farmers’ organised by Ekiti State Coordinating Office of Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES), a World Bank Project being implemented by the Federal Government and Ekiti State.

The commissioner had said, “In Nigeria, we have issues of herders and farmers clashes here and there, so, what we are trying to do in Ekiti is to be proactive to ensure that every sector works without impacting negatively on the other.

 

 

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