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Gov Oyebanji Laments Destruction Of Farmlands By Herders In Ekiti

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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has warned that the state government will no longer tolerate the destruction of crops and farmlands by herdsmen operating in the state.

Governor Oyebanji who decried that some farmlands heavily invested on by the government, particularly in Ikole local government area of the state are being destroyed by herders, called for the intervention of traditional rulers in the area.

Oyebanji gave the warning at the weekend in Ikole Ekiti during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and Ekiti State Government to convert and upgrade the Ikole Ekiti Specialist Hospital, Ikole Ekiti into a Federal Medical Centre (FMC).

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The governor also cleared the air and allayed the fears of indigenes and people of Ikole Ekiti on the absence of their traditional ruler, the Elekole of Ikole Ekiti, Oba Adewumi Ajibade Fasiku from the throne, saying the monarch took permission from him and that he is hale and hearty.

Oyebanji who stated that the herders will be provided with the place to keep and graze their herds, appealed to the traditional rulers to call them to order while threatening that the government will go after them if the situation continues.

According to the governor, “One thing that retards the development of this local government is insecurity. Now we have investors working in Oke-Ako, Iyemero. They have cleared lands. Regent, you are aware of this. Our children have gone to plant crops, and I heard now that the herders are troubling them.

“I am appealing to our traditional rulers to join hands with us. It will not be good for us to use humongous amount of morning for farming purpose and to mobilise our children to farm on these lands and plant crops, at the point of reaping, some people will bring their cows to feast on the farms and destroy the crops planted.

“The reason why I am speaking publicly here today is to send a message to them through our traditional rulers. We are going to go after them, and when we start, nobody should come to me and beg on their behalf.

“Our royal fathers should call those in their communities, we are not against their business, but they shouldn't go against our own business too, because anybody that is caught, I'm not going to listen to any plea from any royal father.

“We are going to provide for them where they will be grazing their herds and they remain there. I have given them two weeks to get a place for them and they will take them there and they should remain there and anyone among them who leaves the place whatever happens, he will take it.

“But I am appealing to you our royal fathers, please, help call them and tell them. Because, we cannot mobilise our children to go and be working in the farm and at the point of harvest, the herds will be brought to eat their crops and destroy their farmlands.

“What we are doing in Ekiti is that, this issue of hunger and food inflation. We shall not experience it next year; that is why we are investing in farming now. So that whatever we grow here, we can buy from the farmers and store them and release them next year to the market so the prices of food item will go down”.

Stressing the importance of farming, he said, “If we don't farm, and continue crying of hunger till next year, there will be no food to eat and the prices of food will continue to go up. So if some young guys, women and some Ekiti indigenes have now agreed to partner with the state government to go into farming, it is our responsibility to protect them. And I know that with the support of all our fathers seated here, the royal fathers, we can do this together”.

Oyebanji while speaking on the security situation in the area said, “It is in this local government that some gunmen shot and killed two traditional rulers, we must not allow such to happen again. But it seems as if we have forgotten that and we are relaxing.

“So, I'm challenging our royal fathers today. If I see you behind me and I have your cooperation. I'm pleading with you because most of these herders are close to some of you. Help beg them that we are not saying they shouldn't graze their herds, but they should not graze them to where they will eat farm crops and destroy farmlands and they should be operating within the area the government will provide for them”.

On the absence of Oba Fasiku from the throne, the governor said, “We need to inform everyone here that the state government is aware of the whereabouts of Elekole.

“Kabiyesi took permission from the state government before he travels, and we are in constant touch with him. So, Kabiyesi is hale and hearty and we are in solidarity with him. I need to say that here today. Before he left the throne, he wrote to me and I approved his travels and I am aware of where he is and he is well. By the power of God, he will come back in peace.”


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