Following the ban on open grazing in Ekiti State, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, has appealed to Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, to relax the ban in order to save the cattle business of their members across the state.
The governor had during his visit to Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government on Monday, announced the ban on open grazing, advising farmers interested in cattle rearing to have their private ranches.
Speaking during the programme Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, the Secretary General of the association, Baba Usman Ngelzerma, exonerated the herdsmen of complicity in the attack launched by suspected herdsmen on Oke Ako Ekiti last Friday, leading to the death of two persons.
He blamed most of the attacks on “criminals” and announced the readiness of the group to negotiate with Ekiti government. He also admitted that there were bad ones amongst them but urged the public not to put blames on the herdsmen until an investigation was conducted. According to Mr. Ngelzerma:
“Our doors are open, we can still go to the governor, we can still discuss and find solutions to these problems. We had a meeting with our elites from different fields of human endeavours to find solutions to these problems. We are calling on the governor of Ekiti state to show a lot of statesmanship.”
“These things are perpetrated by criminals. No doubt what happened is sad but before investigations are conducted, people jump to conclusions that things were done by herdsmen; it may be so, but at least as a governor he should wait and find out who the perpetrators are before apportioning blame. The whole of Ekiti state is his responsibility today including strangers that are in the state. Even the cows that are in Ekiti state today, the governor has a responsibility on them.
“You cannot blame an entire group for a crime committed by few. There was a situation in Ore where a watchman killed a herdsman, we did not take law into our hands, instead we reported to the police.
“We cannot say that the Yoruba people are responsible for that. If you stop the Fulanis from grazing, where should they go?”.
The Secretary-General further disclosed that they have been doing a lot regarding the issue of herdsmen attacks and different factions of the government have been looking into it. He said:
“We have been having meetings with the defence headquarters and the police, hands are on deck to resolve the issue.”
In the same vein, Leadership reports that Fulanis from Ilorin have appealed to Governor Fayose to lift the ban on open grazing.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, the Seriki of the Fulani from Ilorin, Alhaji Mahmood Ahmadu, said his members have no hand in the attack which led to the ban. He promised that his people will join hands with the governor to bring the perpetrators to justice and to secure the state to forestall recurrence of such unfortunate acts. According to him:
“Ilorin Fulani herdsmen are not killers, we are responsible citizens. I have been in Ado Ekiti for 40 years. My people have property in their locations and are now living in palpable fear. If we should tie all our cows, how do we feed them. They will all die and this will be disastrous to our members.
“We appeal to all traditional rulers to help our people and save them from attack. They should also help us beg the governor to lift the ban to ease our burden. We are cohabiting with our host communities peacefully and this we shall sustain at all cost.”