The people of Oke Ogun area in Oyo state have called on the state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi to shelve any idea of possibly establishing grazing zone in the area.
A statement issued by the Oke Ogun Development Council, ODC, signed by Mr. Oladoja Oladele mni and Comrade Jare Ajayi, Acting President and General Secretary respectively, said it came to the council’s notice that the governor was planning to cede some lands in Oke ogun for the proposed ‘grazing zones’ for Fulani cattle-rearers.
The statement read:
“It is on record that Oke ogun is an area in the South West that has suffered the most in the hands of unscrupulous cattle scoundrels who pretend to be cattle rearers. It would therefore amount to a height of injustice to give the land of suffering farmers to these Fulani rearers who are inflicting untold harms on the indigenous people”.
According to the organisation, designating a land in Oke Ogun to the cattle rearers would amount to encouraging them instead of sanctioning them for “their destructive, dastardly and murderous acts against the peace-loving people of Oke Ogun”.
During his 2016 Democracy Day address to the people of Oyo State, Ajimobi said “the recent conflict between farmers and herdsmen in the state is being resolved via regular dialogues by various committees set up by the government. Oyo State has also decided to establish grazing lands, feedlots and ultimately, ranching as lasting solution to the challenge”
The ODC maintained that the governor’s new position “is very much antithetical to what he told the whole world when he launched OyoAgric programme at Paago near Iseyin in May this year. On that occasion he had maintained that there would be no land for grazing of cattles in Oyo State.”
On why the people of Oke Ogun are speaking out against the proposed grazing lands, Oladele and Ajayi stated that Oke Ogun is where you can presently get a vast land. It is also an area where the herdsmen have been grazing over the years.
“So the temptation could be there for the government and sponsors of the rearers to have their eyes on Oke ogun. In any case, we are already getting strong indications that Oke ogun is where the government is thinking of. This is why we are shouting right now that such a thing should never be done” the statement added
According to ODC, livestock rearing is like any other business, “anybody who wants to engage in it should purchase, lease, or hire a land and establish ranches on it as is being done in other climes. Our land should NOT be turned into grazing zones for cattle rearers of any hue”
Several lives have been lost due to clashes between Bororo-Fulani cattle rearers in Oke ogun among other places.
The ODC’s statement concludes:
“Lots of farmlands have been invaded, women raped and many farmers maimed. Many people have abandoned farming as a result of the dangers they face in the hands of the cattle rearers. This was what we do not want anybody to perpetuate”