A group, Oke-Ogun Livestock Farmers Association, has called on cattle breeders, under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Oyo State Chapter, to urgently withdraw their legal suit against the State government over the signing of the State’s Anti-Grazing Bill into Law.
The State government recently signed the Bill, which opposed open grazing by herders, into Law after it was passed by the House of Assembly, due to incessant clashes between farmers and cattle herders and loss of lives and farm products.
With the Law in the State, it became illegal for herders to graze on farmlands but sought the need for them to secure lands where cattle could be fed and bred without the herd entering farms to destroy crops.
The Chairman, Oke-Ogun Livestock Farmers Association, Mr Rasaq Ashirudeen, said the Law was in line with the State’s responsibility to protect its citizen, majority of who are farmers.
He said this while paying a courtesy visit to the Sole Administrator of Iseyin South Local Community Development Area (LCDA), Mr Ajibola Raheem, in Iseyin over the weekend.
Ashirudeen called on Miyetti Allah to avoid confrontation with the State government with its resolve to approach the court, but instead sit with the government and work on the areas that would affect them in the Law.
He stated, “It is imperative that the Miyetti Allah do the needful and immediately withdraw the case they took to court against the State. It is not going to bring about the needed peace, they are Nigerians that can live anywhere in the country but even the constitution of Nigeria does not allow for destruction of others’ property, especially their own means of living.”
“We as livestock farmers have been victims of farm destruction by herders and at times our people also got attacked by the herders when confronted after destruction of farm, but we are all looking for economic survival and government will not open its eyes for a party to disrupt the survival of the other,” Ashirudeen affirmed.
He exppressed the belief that Governor Makinde, who had been seen as peace-loving and welfarist, would be willing to accommodate whatever the herders are bringing to the negotiation table so that it would be a win-win situation.
He said, “The cattle owners have to show some level of understanding for the government’s drive towards peaceful coexistence of citizens, even while we all go about our businesses, they have to give something to gain something.”
The group therefore called on the State administration to call another extensive stakeholders’ meeting where the content of the Bill and its implications would be made public, while showing areas where adjustments could be made to secure continued survival of the herders in the State.
The livestock farmers also hailed the State Governor for his interest in boosting agricultural revolution through farm settlement programs, adding that it believes true empowerment of farmers would foster economic diversity and engender mass employment and financial freedom for the people of the State.
In his words, the Sole Administrator, Iseyin South LCDA, Mr Ajibola Raheem, saluted the courage and uncommon resolve of the group to say the truth for the sake of peaceful coexistence of the herders and the farmers in the State.
He assured the group that the State government was ever ready to accommodate all tribes and nationalities and was willing to do all required for them to thrive in their businesses.
Raheem urged the Miyetti Allah to meet with the government to fashion out the best way out to do their business without having problem with farmers, saying no country in the world, not to talk of a State, would experience growth in an atmosphere of panic and crisis.