Barely nine days the Obaseki-led administration in Edo State promised to provide grazing areas for herdsmen in the state to graze their cattle, the Governor on Thursday made a sudden u-turn, saying that the state would not cede any part of its land for grazing cattle.
Recalled that on Tuesday, February 9, while on a fact finding mission to Ovia South-West Local Government Area, Obaseki hinted on the idea of a grazing colony for herders in the state.
“The Fulani Community should collaborate with the government and security agencies to fish out criminals. We will create an area where the cattle will go regularly to eat, as they must not go to peoples’ farms. This will stop cattle from moving round the community including in farmlands”, Obaseki had said on that occasion.
But a statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Osarodion Ogie in Benin on Thursday, said that the government’s position on the matter was clear and had not shifted, insisting that it would not cede its land to herdsmen.
The Thursday’s statement by the state government described the report of the last Tuesday’s stance of the governor to the effect that the governor had agreed to provide grazing land for herders in the state as “misleading and false media reports”.
“Our position on the matter of grazing land is clear and has not shifted, which is that there is no free land for grazing in Edo State. Grazing is an economic activity just like poultry and piggery or any other agricultural enterprise. The Edo State Government will not cede any land in the state for grazing”, the statement stressed.
“The governor has continually warned against the politicizing of security issues,” he added.
Ogie accused some unnamed political actors as “trying to instigate the type of killings witnessed in some states in the country just because they are embittered by the heavy loss they suffered in the political space”.
“Thankfully, their plans have failed because of the pre-emptive actions taken by Governor Obaseki and the security agencies. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the current futile efforts by these defeated politicians in the state to cause mayhem and chaos among our people”, the SSG added.
The statement enjoined all loving people of the state ” to dedicate this Lenten period to pray for peace at this difficult time in the life of our dear country”.