The Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State have disagreed over the alleged plot to seize land in parts of the state for ranching by herdsmen.

The PDP accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of allegedly planning to acquire land in six locations across the state for ranches to promote the interest of the Fulani, in view of his presidential ambition.

It said the plot was to provide land for ranching under the guise of “aggressive food production through a policy that will be introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture”.

The opposition party’s State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, in a statement on Friday titled ‘Fayemi secretly plotting to seize Ekiti lands for cattle ranch – PDP,’ alleged that the governor wanted to “initiate a policy under the guise of acquiring lands to boost agriculture and promote food security.”

The statement read in part, “We want our traditional rulers, chiefs and every lover of Ekiti to be on the alert and join progressive forces to stop this evil plot.

“We believe this would be a smokescreen to hijack lands to please the herdsmen to advance Governor Fayemi’s presidential ambition. We reliably gathered that the present All Progressives Congress government in Ekiti is planning to hijack land in the six towns of Omuo Ekiti, Emure, Oke Ako, Otun, Okemesi and Ipole Iloro.

“The idea is 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 recently was meant to ascertain the size of lands that will be required to settle them in the proposed ranches, even when they lied to the people that it was for identification. A lot of our people are still being attacked on their farms and no one has been arrested as of now.”

But the state APC Director of Publicity, Sam Oluwalana, debunked the allegation, adding that the governor had no such plan.

Oluwalana, in a statement titled ‘Stop politics of idleness, join Fayemi in moving Ekiti forward, APC tells PDP’, said, “This (PDP’s allegation) is actually a lie from the pit of hell, as the governor and the state government has no such plans on the horizon. For the avoidance of doubt and for the umpteenth time, the state government does not intend to snatch lands from residents and convert them to build ranches for certain individuals.

“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 an exercise. Those whose lands were acquired for projects, like the airport and others, can testify to this assertion.”

While calling on the opposition to join hands with the APC government to move the state forward, the APC said, “We will like to intimate to the leading opposition party in the state that the Fayemi administration has several intervention programmes, especially agriculture-related projects that can benefit them and their families. We advise them to participate in all these support programmes, like the Ekiti Rice Pyramid Project, instead of barking up the wrong tree.”