Gov Ajimobi opposes creation of grazing zones, says it “is against the spirit of the land use act”


By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi Tuesday declared that the proposed creation of grazing zones across the country is ill-advised and against the spirit of the land use act and the overriding public interest.
The governor said this at the launch of the ‘AgricOyo,’ the Oyo State agriculture initiative, held at Paago, via Iseyin, in Oke Ogun zone of Oyo state.
Governor Ajimobi pointed out that there is the urgent need for those allegedly sponsoring such a bill at the National Assembly for the creation of grazing zones for cattle across the country as a solution to the perennial clash between trespassing herdsmen and farm owners to have a rethink.
“This is the time to call a spade a spade. Those clamouring for creation of grazing zones across the country should have a rethink. It is against the Land Use Act; it is against the law of natural justice to seize people’s land to cater for someone’s cattles. Grazing zones could be created for those who are traditional cattle rearers in their areas. I’m not against that. But, you cannot come here and tell me you want to occupy our land for grazing zones. The land exists in our respective states and as such the rigthtful owners should decide what to do with them,” he said.
Governor Ajimobi added that “anybody outside this zone willing to rear cattle here will need to approach the state to buy the land and we offer what is available with rules,” saying, “there is no free land for grazing zones. We need to take this firm position. It won’t happen.”
Speaking on the new agriculture initiative, he declared it would among other things create one million direct jobs across the agric value chain thereby taking many unemployed youths off the streets.
According to Governor Ajimobi, Oyo State would become the food basket of the Southern part of the country in the short run when the programme commence in full swing, with the ultimate ambition of feeding the country, adding that the initiative was aimed at diversifying the economy of the state, assuring the people that the programme would add value to the lives of citizens of the state across different sectors.
“I am elated that the agricultural initiative has attracted these important dignitaries in the Agric business world and as well as a vast majority of our youths as beneficiaries of the scheme. This project will reduce over-dependence on oil, create wealth, alleviate poverty, encourage productivity, create jobs and bring about the overall socio-economic uplift of Oyo State. Farming is very profitable and we will do everything possible to make it attractive in Oyo State to diversify our economy.”
While emphasizing that the phase one of the project would focus on the production of maize, cassava, rice, poultry, soya beans and aquaculture, Governor Ajimobi asked farmers and the entire rural dwellers in the state to be more vigilant and report suspicious activities of offending cattle rearers to security agencies around them, saying it was illegal for the herdsmen to destroy farmlands and attacks farmers in the guise of feeding their animals.
Chairperson of the Oyo State Agricultural Initiative Committee, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe commended the state government in ensuring that the vision became a reality and would take agriculture back to its pride of place for the economic benefit of the people of the State.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi and the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul-Ganiyu Adekunle Salawudeen, in their remarks lauded Governor Ajimobi for the initiative, which they said was unprecedented since the days of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.


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