• Ban night, underage grazing
• Falae accuses FG of undue ethnic sentiment
• Northern elders urge Buhari to douse tension
Rising from a meeting with South-West governors in Akure, yesterday, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) agreed to work with governments in the region and security agencies to curb insecurity.
The meeting followed the tension generated by a seven-day eviction notice issued by Ondo State Government to unauthorised herdsmen to quit the state’s forest reserves, which expired on Sunday.
South-West governors in attendance were Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun State) and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
Other dignitaries included security chiefs in the South-West region led by the AIG Zone 11, Olufemi Agunbiade, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore; MACBAN state and national officers and others.
They met to find lasting solutions to incessant killings, kidnapping, and clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the region. Governors of Jigawa State, Muhammad Abubakar and his Kebbi State counterpart, Abubakar Bagudu were also present at the meeting while the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun were absent.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, the governors and MACBAN agreed that the order of the Ondo State Governor was misconstrued and misrepresented and that he only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.
It added: “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 criminality.”
The governors and other stakeholders affirmed that MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves, practising ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.
According to them, there is need to set up a standing committee in each state where there is none comprising farmers, MACBAN and the government representatives to ensure synergy and result.
NORTHERN Elders Forum (NEF) has, in its reaction, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to meet with state governors to douse tension in the country.
Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made the appeal in a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja. The forum noted that events in South-West were assuming national dimensions and needed national solutions.
The elders appealed to Nigerians to exercise great restraint in their comments and actions in these trying times and urged leaders at all levels to contribute to solutions to developing threats.
CHIEF Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), whose farmland was attacked a number of times by herdsmen, decried sentiments attached to the issue of herdsmen/farmers’ rift across the nation by the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government reacts to cattle issues as if the cattle belong to the FG. Cattle belong to the Fulani and the Federal Government is not Fulani. They should be reminded that it is Federal Government of Nigeria not of Fulani of about 10 million people.
“So, the cattle belong to private individuals not to the government, what’s their interest? When cattle and the Fulani went to my farm to destroy it, why didn’t they show concern? It is absolute nonsense.”
Falae, who was kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen on his 77th birthday in September 2015, said the FG should assist the herdsmen to set up ranches in the north, “where cattle is indigenous. Let them run as private business without harassing anybody and anybody harassing them.”
He said: “The time has come for Nigeria to do what the rest of the world has done, which is to move away from this ancient free grazing of cattle and move into modern cattle ranching which is what the whole world is now doing.”