The Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose has reacted to the call by the Federal Government that states operating anti-grazing law should suspend its implementation to reduce tension arising by killings by Fulani herdsmen.
Fayose, who slammed the Federal Government for making such demand, accused the Federal Government of apparently valuing cows more than Nigerians.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had after Buhari’s meeting with security chiefs on Tuesday, called on sates such as Ekiti, Benue, Taraba and others currently implementing anti-open grazing law to suspend it.
But responding, Fayose in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said there was “no going back on the implementation in Ekiti”, adding that the demand by Buhari’s government through the defence Minister was an affront on federalism and everything that it stands for.
“It is amazing that at the level of the presidency, they still see the states as appendages of the Federal Government. The President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government is acting as if there is more to its opposition to the ban on open grazing by some states than it is telling Nigerians,” Fayose said.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that the federal government was acting “as if it values cows more than Nigerians”, describing the position of the Minister of Defense as an embarrassment to the country.
He said, “Those who are genuinely interested in peace and unity of Nigeria know that anti-grazing law is not responsible for killings across the country by herdsmen because herdsmen have killed more people even in states where the law is not in existence. Rather, it is the Federal Government’s refusal to act decisively on pure security issues that has emboldened the killer herdsmen to even go about attacking military formations and police stations.
“It is also interesting that this same Federal Government told Nigerians last year that most of the herdsmen carrying out attacks across Nigeria are foreigners. Is the Minister of Defense telling states to suspend their laws in the interest of foreigners that are killing Nigerians?”
Expressing concern over the Federal Government’s opposition to the anti-grazing law Fayose asked, “In January, this same Minister of Defense blamed the passage of anti-open grazing law in some states as the cause of the recent killings by herdsmen in some of the states. Yesterday again after a security meeting with President Buhari, the Defense Minister was still singing the same song. Is there something to this old system of nomadic cattle rearing that they are not telling Nigerians?
“Why is President Buhari not rearing his cows through open grazing? At least, we have seen pictures of the President’s cows where they were kept on a fenced-land in Daura, why can’t other cattle farmers be encouraged to ranch their cows just like the President?
“Here in Ekiti, the law restricting open grazing of animals stays. It is the Federal Government that should stop looking the other way while herdsmen go about killing Nigerians.”
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