Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose has declared a war on herdsmen, who are unleashing terror in communities in the state.
The governor urged the people to rise against the herdsmen and kill them to defend their lives, families and farmlands.
Fayose visited Oke-Ako community in Ikole Local Government Area, where suspected herdsmen killed two residents and injured four others in a night attack last Friday.
He was accompanied by Commissioner of Police, Etop James; Director of Department of State Services (DSS) Andrew Iorkay; Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps John Ikemefuna and traditional rulers led by the Elekole of Ikole-Ekiti, Oba Adewumi Fasiku.
The community has become a ghost town as many residents have fled.
Soldiers from the 32 Artillery Regiment, Owena Barracks, Akure, the Ondo State capital, stood guard in strategic locations
The governor told local hunters, who mounted a guard of honour for him, to always be on guard as his administration would give them moral, financial and logistics support.
Many of the community’s youths have been conscripted into the local hunters association.
Fayose, who revealed that he has banned grazing in the state, pledged to follow up the ban with a bill to the House of Assembly to criminalise grazing.
He said those interested in cattle farming should get their own private cattle ranch.
The governor donated N2.5 million to the local hunters association and another N2.5 million to the families of the victims.
Fayose promised to pay the hospital bills of injured victims.
The governor promised to give the hunters a patrol vehicle fitted with communication gadgets.
He said the people would not fold their arms and watch their lands ravaged and their wives raped.
Fayose said: “From now on, my government has banned grazing in Ekiti State. If you want to graze, it should be in your local ranches.
“Any cow seen around should be seized and it would henceforth become government property and their owners shall be prosecuted.
“On no account should anybody come to sack our communities again, rise up against them.
“Before any herdsmen kill you, kill them, before they rape your wives, kill them, and before they rape your children kill them.
“I am giving you this order before they kill you kill them. You have to defend yourselves. Before they get you, you must get them down and take them out.
“You should pursue them, go and search for them inside the forest. Anyone who comes to take your life, you must take them out.
“We will not leave our lands for Fulani herdsmen and in a system where the leadership of the country looks the other way while our people are being killed, we will have no option than to defend ourselves.”
The chairman of the community’s hunters association, Joseph Osasona, called on Fayose to support them with logistics, arms and finance.
“We are appealing to the government to support us because without arms, we can do nothing.
“We want the governor to allow us use guns because when the herdsmen came, they carried AK-47 rifles.
“We can’t face them with dane guns. We are a registered association and we need the support of our government to protect our people,” Osasona said.
In response to Fayose’s charge Alhaji Bello Ardo, former President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association (MACBAN) has said his members are constitutionally empowered to carry out their business without let or hinderance.
According to Ardo, a son-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, concerned Fulani leaders are contemplating a decisive legal challenge towards setting aside Governor Ayodele Fayose’s plans to prohibit herdsmen from rearing cattle in any part of Ekiti State.
Affirming that Fulani leaders do not endorse any situation where individuals or groups take law in their hands, Ardo said the legal option is being considered, it would be optimally utilised to stop the plot against herdsmen doing their legitimate business.
According to Ardo, there are areas in Ekiti and other parts of Nigeria that have been gazetted by the Federal Government as designated areas for cattle grazing.
“He does not have the authority to ban cattle-grazing in Ekiti. Fulani will challenge it in court.
“He does not have any right to ban designated grazing areas in Ekiti; there are grazing areas all over Nigeria and those grazing areas are gazetted by the Federal Government.
“He does not have the right to say that Fulani cannot rear cattle through the forests; we are going to challenge this in court.
“We are only just hearing the news but very soon, we will challenge it appropriately,” Ardo said…