Governors of the South-West on Monday agreed to ban all forms of open grazing in the region, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said.
According to him, the decision was taken Monday when the governors met with the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as well as security chiefs.
Some of the governors in attendance include Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.
Giving a report after the meeting, Makinde tweeted, “Today, the South West governors held a security stakeholders’ meeting in Ondo State. The meeting was attended by our brother governors from Kebbi and Jigawa States; security chiefs, South West zone led by the AIG Zone 11 and leaders from the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
“Collectively, we resolved to ban open grazing in all parts of the South-West. In Oyo State, we already have a law against open grazing which will continue to be implemented by our security agencies.
“I restated that we will not permit criminality as a response to criminal actions. Instead we will continue to support our security agencies to do their duties. Also, we will work with our people to face our common enemies – the criminals; kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits.”
Open grazing had been responsible for clashes between herders and farmers in the region. The rising cases of kidnapping and sundry crimes in the region had also been linked to the activities of criminal elements who masquerade as herdsmen in their host communities.
Akeredolu on January 18, 2021 ordered herdsmen to leave Ondo forest reserves within seven days following incidents of kidnapping attributed to Fulani herders.
NGF supports Akeredolu
Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has declared support for Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on the quit order he gave to Fulani herdsmen in the state, stressing that it was not intended to cause ethnic crisis in the country and the state, in particular, but to prevent crime.
Rising from a meeting held with the leadership of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Akure, Ondo State capital, yesterday, the NGF said Akeredolu did not send Fulani herdsmen away from the state, but only asked them to leave the government’s farm settlements and, also, register for proper identification.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, who made the disclosure, yesterday, said the governor was misconstrued by the media.
Fayemi said the meeting was called to resolve the issue of insecurity in the South-West and to ensure peaceful coexistence among the people of the region and those from other tribes living there.
He noted that Akeredolu had nothing against Fulani herdsmen who abide by the laws of the state.
Fayemi said: “Many members of MACBAN were born in the South-West. So, Akeredolu cannot ask Fulani to vacate Ondo State. The area concerned are the forest reserves and it is about registration and also to work in line with the law.
“What we are after is the criminals, not Fulani herdsmen, criminals are criminals, irrespective of their ethnic group.”
Fayemi noted that the statement generated a lot of controversies which eventually led to what he described as unfortunate development in Oyo State.
“The security and welfare of the people of Nigeria are the primary purpose of government as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region, but must be addressed by the cooperation of all. The order of the Ondo State governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. He only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.
“Criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status. Security agencies have been trying to stem the tide of criminality in the country, but must step up their efforts in the fight.
“There is the need to build partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality. No one had sent anyone away from any state or region, but all hands must be on deck to fight crime.”
In his remarks, National President of MACBAN, Muhammadu Kirowa, said his members are peaceful and democratic.
Represented by the National Secretary of the association, Baba Uthman Ngelzama, the Miyetti Allah leader sued for peace and stressed that dialogue is key to ensuring peaceful coexistence.
He noted that poor management of the relationship between herders and farmers led to clashes recently recorded in some parts of the country.