By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
The Presidency has appealed to cattle owners and the people of Ekiti State to seek a common ground in finding a solution to the festering row over the new grazing law initiated by the state government.
Enacted recently by the state’s House of Assembly, the new law bans cattle grazing from 6pm to 6am.
Since the passage of the bill into law, cattle owners have complained of violent killings of their cows for meat.
They seek human face to the new law. The state government on the other hand insists on strict implementation of the law sometimes beyond the state’s own set legal rules.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, made the appeal on Tuesday at a meeting held between the group and the Special Adviser to The President on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.
At the meeting, the National Secretary of the Association Baba Othman Ngblzarma said his group was not opposed to the new law but reject a situation where the State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose deliberately lead and sometimes fuel the constant attacks and killings of their cows in Ekiti State.
Ngblzarma said aggrieved members of the association from Ekiti, Kwara and Kogi States were planning a reprisal but they have stopped them.
He said his group may stop the supply of cattle and goats to Ekiti State as a way protesting the illegal activities of Fayose’s vigilantes against the cattle rearers.
The group stated “We are in support of the law stopping grazing from 6.00 pm to 6.00 am but oppose a situation where armed vigilantes shoot and kill our cattles during the day and making away with the meat.”
According to him the Ekiti State governor Mr Ayodele Fayose is in the habit of stopping his convoy to supervise the shooting of cattles after which the meat are carted away.
He said “We want peace and a conducive environment to do our business but we will resist the attempt to kill our cattle illegally.”
He said the law does not give the right for anyone to shoot cattles and take them away for feast.
The catrle owners said the Ewi of Ado Ekiti Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe and the Sultan of Sokoto Saadu Abubakar had intervened in the past but regret that all attempts to dialogue with Mr Fayose were rebuffed.
Ojudu thanked the association for the meeting, saying in a democracy every opportunity for dialogue should be explored.
He said the symbiotic relationship between the cattle owners and the Ekiti people should be explored so that a common ground of understanding is achieved for the peace and stability of both the cattle owners and the people of Ekiti State.
He described the meeting as “very useful” adding that it had opened a fresh window of opportuniy for both sides to explore peaceful resolution of the lingering feud.