Amid the controversy over federal government’s proposed Ruga Settlement, governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, on Monday assured that nobody coming from outside the state would be allowed to take over land from his people.
He said non-indigenes wishing to do business in the state must respect the culture of the indigenous people and must pursue their interest in line with the law of the land.
The governor gave the assurance when he paid a visit to people of Orin-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area to commiserate with the community on the death of an indigene, Mr Emmanuel Ilori, allegedly killed by gun wielding herdsmen on Saturday.
Mr Ilori was said to have died at the hands of the herders during a hunting expedition in the community forest.
It was gathered while he was in the forest with his co-hunters, they encountered a large number of herdsmen numbering about 20.
Ilori was reportedly shot by the herdsmen when he challenged them on their mission to the community.
The governor said that traditional hunters and security agencies would henceforth work together to ensure adequate security for the people of the state.
Fayemi said people of the state would now witness deployment of more soldiers, armed policemen and other security agencies so that they could sleep with their eyes closed.
The governor expressed his sadness over the death of Ilori, whom he described as one of the leaders of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in the town.
The governor, who spoke in Yoruba during the visit, said investigation has commenced on the attack on Saturday and promised to do everything possible to arrest the killers and bring them to justice.
He also condemned opposition elements for making a political capital out of the incident by alleging that he was planning to give Ekiti land to “outsiders” in exchange for future political ambition.
“Nobody is coming to take our land in Ekiti. Governor of Ekiti State has power over the land of Ekiti and it is the person that the governor gives land in Ekiti that can use the land of Ekiti,” he said.
“If there are negative comments being peddled around that some people are coming to take over Ekiti land, take over Orin land, take over Ido land, it’s a mere hearsay.”
Federal government’s Ruga Settlement policy requires states to make lands available for herdsmen within the state, as a strategy for stemming the tide of persisting clashes between farmers and the herders.
However, the policy is generating a lot of controversy as some states have vowed not to give up any land for such Fulani herders.
“It cannot happen in Ekiti, except I am no longer the governor of Ekiti State and there is nobody that can be governor in Ekiti that will cede Ekiti land to outsiders because our land is not even enough for us,” said Fayemi.
“Adequate security of our people is what concerns me (the) most in Ekiti and Nigeria and I want our people to ignore lies and falsehood some individuals are spreading around.
“There is nobody that will be governor in Ekiti that will allow outsiders to take over our communities from the people here or say that people coming from elsewhere should come and take over Ekiti.
“Those saying these are only playing politics with the matter. This is not politics, security is an issue that concerns all of us.
“Some individuals have been spreading baseless rumours to cause disaffection because they are no longer in power and it is their wish that Ekiti should be consumed by anarchy.”
He said he was in Orin to sympathise with the community and tell them of the steps being taken by the government to forestall further occurrence of killings.
“Since the incident happened on Saturday, you have seen more soldiers and policemen here in Orin and they are on the trail of perpetrators and we will not relent in our efforts until they are found,” he said.
“Government will do everything possible to prevent a re-occurrence of what happened and from now, you will see more security people not only in Orin but in other parts of Ekiti. They are not here to fight you but to protect you.
“Those responsible for this shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. Other steps that will be taken will be revealed in due course.”
The governor, who said he felt a sense of loss with the people of Orin, urged them to be peaceful and law abiding as investigation into the killing continues.
While praying God to grant the deceased eternal rest, Fayemi promised that his administration will partake in the burial and assist the family.