The Ekiti chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of plotting to secretly cede land for Fulani herdsmen to build ranches in the state.
According to a statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, the alleged move was to advance his presidential ambition.
Adeyanju alleged that the state goverrment was planning to hijack lands in six towns of Omuo Ekiti, Emure, Oke Ako, Otun, Okemesi, and Ipole Iloro.
He said it was wrong for the governor to cede ancestral land to herdsmen when the people of the state have made their disapproval known.
The statement read, “It is no longer news that Governor Fayemi has been hobnobbing with some political interests to advance his presidential ambition not minding what happens to his people at home. But charity they say begins at home.
“We reliably gathered from those in his government that the present APC government in Ekiti was planning to hijack lands in six towns of Omuo Ekiti, Emure, Oke Ako, Otun, Okemesi, and Ipole Iloro.
“The idea was that there would be two ranches in each of the three Senatorial districts and these lands would be acquired by deceiving landowners that the State wants to embark on aggressive food production through a policy that will be introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We heard from grapevine sources that the Registration the government undertook for herdsmen just recently was meant to ascertain the number of lands that will be required to settle them into the proposed ranches, even when they lied to the people that it was for identification.
“This became doubtful because a lot of our people are still being attacked on their farms and no one has been arrested as of now.
“Some traditional rulers who got wind of this evil plot recently raised an alarm. But impeccable sources revealed to us that the government was planning to reintroduce the unpopular ranching policy through another policy.
“We want our traditional rulers, Chiefs, and every lover of Ekiti to be on alert and join progressive forces to stop this evil plot.
“Politics apart, no one is happy with the increasing rate of kidnapping in Ekiti at present.
“The suspected herders were kidnapping our citizens and even desecrating the traditional institutions with the shooting of Elewu of Ewu Ekiti, Oba Adetutu Ajayi, and the kidnapping of Obadu of Ilemeso Ekiti, Oba David Oyewumi.
“So, all lovers of peace should beg Governor Fayemi not to sacrifice the Ekiti people’s souls on the altar of politics.”
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied the allegation that Fayemi was planning to cede land to herdsmen to build ranches.
Director of Media and Publicity of APC in Ekiti, Elder Sam Oluwalana, accused Ekiti PDP of using the allegation to divert attention from its loss during the South-West zonal congress.
He said: “Smarting from a political misadventure some weeks ago in Oshogbo, the capital of Osun State, where they got their nose bloodied and returned home with their tails between their legs, the state chapter of PDP in its usual destructive self decided to shift attention from their trouncing at the South West Zonal Congress and came up with a disjointed narrative that would not even impress the most gullible of party faithful.
“For the avoidance of doubts and for the umpteenth time, the state government does not intend to snatch lands from people of the state.
“Even, if the state government has any need to acquire lands for any project, it would go through due process and pay commensurate compensation for such exercise.
“Those whose lands were acquired for projects like the Airport and others can testify to this assertion.
“We will like to intimate the leading opposition party in the state that the Fayemi administration has several intervention programmes, especially Agric-related projects that can benefit them and their families.
“We advise them to use the prevailing buoyant period to participate in all these support programme like the Ekiti Rice Pyramid project instead of barking up the wrong tree.
“We know their challenges at the moment, but it will bode well for them to join hands with the state government and move the state forward. The state is at peace with itself, don’t bring back the “one day, one trouble” of yore.”