The people of Oke-Ogun geo-politocal zone of Oyo State yesterday rejected the establishment of cattle ranches being proposed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in some states, including Oyo.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by its spokesperson, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Oke-Ogun Council of Elders, OCE, they called on the federal government to have a change of mind on its recent decision to create cattle ranches in the country.
According to them, “The people of Oke-Ogun in Oyo State reject it in all its ramifications. Given the discord and possible bloodshed that such a proposition is likely to cause, the government ought not to contemplate it at all. Oke-Ogun also expressed regret that Oyo State is among ten states where the pilot ranches will begin. It called on the Oyo State government to reject the idea completely.”
The federal government had listed Oyo, Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara as the states it plans for ranching. The government plans to spend billions of naira on the project in the next 10 years.
This, they said, is in sharp contrast to the promise made by Governor Abiola Ajimobi on April 26, 2016 while speaking during the launch of the ‘AgricOyo,’ the state’s agriculture initiative held at Paago, Iseyin, in Oke Ogun zone of the state.”
The Elders “expressed surprise that the federal government that admitted the loss of lives and as much as about $14 billion (₦5.04 trillion) annually to herdsmen/farmers-related conflicts could still go ahead to think of this obnoxious project rather than finding a lasting solution to the problem”.
They added that, “The lasting solution advocated is to ban open grazing of livestock and to encourage livestock farmers to embrace modern ways of rearing animals which is ranching. But this has to be by private arrangement and not something that would be created for livestock farmers by the government.”
They maintained that the project “will create far greater problems than it will solve”.
Asking the governor to stand by his earlier position, they asked “What has changed between 2016 when this statement was made and now? If anything, there are more cogent reasons now not to accommodate the kind of grazing zones or ranches being proposed by the federal government.
“In any case both the federal and Oyo State governments should know that there is no land of any size in Oke ogun for the kind of ranches being proposed. We cannot allow ourselves to be run over”.