The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to the menace of herdsmen in the country, with a view to curtailing their activities.
He said the government should pay particular attention to the events in Benue State, where herdsmen were unleashing violence on farmers.
“What is going on in Benue State is more like an organised pogrom and those responsible for the killings in the State must be arrested and prosecuted.,” the governor said in a statement on Saturday by his media aide, Lere Olayinka.
Accoringmto Mr. Fayose, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, should be allowed to function as the President so as to be able to deploy instruments of the federal government to tackle the herdsmen menace.
“As it is today, it appears that Prof. Osinbajo does not have the full powers of the president,” he said.
While declaring his support for the new law prohibiting open grazing in Benue State, Mr. Fayose said those opposed to the law were only doing so as part of their plot to undermine the land and people of Benue State.
He expressed his sympathy for the government and people of Benue State, adding that the Federal Government must stop playing the ostrich to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen.
“Like I have maintained, cattle farming is not different from fish farming, snake farming, poultry farming, snail farming, etc,” he said in his remarks on the law.
“Therefore, if fish farmers are providing their own ponds and poultry farmers building their own pens, while also buying feed for their animals, there is no reason cattle farmers should not also provide their own ranch and feed their cows without encroaching on other people’s farmlands.”
“How can Nigerians embrace farming when those already in the farms are losing billions of naira worth of crops to destruction of their farmlands by the Fulani Herdsmen and the Federal Government is not doing anything about it?”
He said the continued silence by the Buhari-led government’ on the alleged killing of harmless Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen was unacceptable.
“In May, 2016, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria boldly told Nigerians that herdsmen killed over 1,000 Agatu people of Benue State then because over 800 of their cows were killed by Tiv youths. The man who openly made that comment was never questioned by the security agent,” he further said.
“The same Miyetti Allah is now against the Anti-Open Grazing Law in Benue State, vowing to mobilize its members to resist the law and claiming that pastoralists like other citizens of the country have the right to move freely and to reside in any part of the country.
“Does pastoralists have rights to destroy other people’s farmlands, invade homes and rape people’s wives and daughters? Shouldn’t people who are into cattle farming be able to provide feeds for their animals?”
Mr. Fayose was the first governor to sign a law banning open grazing in Ekiti State after herdsmen reportedly killed two persons during an invasion of one of the communities last year.