Ondo Govt’s Vacation Order: Miyetti Allah concedes as herdsmen begin registration

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…Says no more night, under-aged grazing in S-West

Following the executive order given by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying the state’s forest reserves to vacate within seven days, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, yesterday, conceded to the demands of South-West Governors.

Governor Akeredolu had insisted that unless the herders are registered with the state government to operate in the reserves, they will be dislodged in seven days. They actually started registering yesterday, following the peace meeting brokered by the Presidency.

This development came on a day some prominent Yoruba leaders warned the South West governors not to negotiate the continued stay of Fulani herders, saying they should all toe the path of Governor Akeredolu by issuing eviction notices to violent herders in their states.

This is even as Yoruba activist, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Igboho, insisted yesterday that Yoruba cannot live like slaves in their own land and vowed to contain the criminal activities of herdsmen across the region.

Also looking at the growing resentment against the activities of some armed herdsmen across the country, Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman, called on the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to take steps to implement the report of the Nasir el-Rufai Committee on True Federalism.

Similarly, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, said the South West geo-political zone alone could not address the security challenges facing the region, noting that only a collective national approach would resolve the farmers/herders’ clashes.

On his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, also advised Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to be more proactive and decisive in handling the security situation in the state.

S-West govs meeting with MACBAN

These were some of the fallouts of the meeting brokered by the Presidency yesterday between South-West governors and leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, to resolve the problems between farmers and herders in the region.

Present at the meeting held at the International Centre for Culture and Events, DOME, Alagbaka, Akure, Ogun State, were also security agencies and other stakeholders.

Some of the governors in attendance include those of Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Jigawa, and Kebbi states.

The National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, who conceded to the demands of the governors, directed Fulani herders across the South-West to put an end to both night and under-aged grazing with immediate effect.

No more night grazing, underaged grazing in South West- MACBAN

Speaking at the meeting, National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Kiruwa, warned herders to desist from taking their cows to people’s farms for grazing.

Kiruwa said: “I want to plead with all our members to avoid allowing cows straying into farms, they should stop small boys, as a matter of urgency, from going to graze; also, night grazing must stop either in Ondo State, South-West or across the country.

“This is one of the reasons we have herders and farmers clashes. This has always been causing conflicts between farmers and herders. I can assure you of our support and cooperation.”

On the quit order given by Governor Akeredolu, he said: “We believe dialogue is key in achieving peaceful co-existence. We assure their Excellencies that we will continue with our awareness campaign to our members to appreciate the sensibilities of their host communities by ensuring they live in peace.

“The menace of banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping emerged as a result of poor management of farmers/herders’ conflicts that gave rise to cattle rustling, thus giving birth to kidnapping, and later banditry.

“In all of these, our members are the worse victims and also culprits. To date, over 10,000 pastoralists have been killed as a result of farmers/herders’ conflicts. Over five million cows have been lost to these incidents.

“We find it distasteful and dangerous the recent incidence in Oyo where people are allowed to take laws into their hands by killing and burning properties at will.

“The government should come down heavily on perpetrators of such acts and provide immediate palliatives to the families of people who lost their lives and properties in order to ease their frustrations.

“We are open to working with the NGF in designing what we think can work in solving these problems.

“We condemn all sorts of criminality, extra-judicial killings and the impunity that is associated with it. Once more, we reiterate that MACBAN has never and will not condone any form of criminality by anyone.

Herdsmen have started registering — Ondo govt

Meanwhile, Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo said the herdsmen in Ondo State have started registering to operate in the state.

“My office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Amotekun office, are handling the registration exercise.”

Jigawa, Kebbi govs back Akeredolu’s quit order

At the marathon meeting, Governor Badru Abubakar of Jigawa State and his Kebbi State, counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, agreed with Governor Akeredolu that the herdsmen should register before operating in government’s forest reserves.

The Northern governors said it was absolutely wrong for herdsmen to do business in a state without proper registration with the state government, stressing that

there was nothing inappropriate in the order of Governor Akeredolu that they should register before operating in the forest reserves.

The communiqué

The meeting ended with a communique read by Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Kayode Fayemi.

It read: “Following the Executive Order of Governor Oluwaratim Akeredolu of Ondo State, SAN, to Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying the State Forest Reserves to vacate within seven days, with effect from Monday, January 18, 2021, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, led by its chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, met with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, security agencies and other stakeholders on January 25, 2021 at the International Centre for Culture and Events, DOME, Alagbaka, Akure in Ondo State to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest geo-political zone of the country.

“The meeting discussed vigorously and resolved that the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria is the primary purpose of government as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.

“The stakeholders are committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. 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 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 criminality.

“MACBAN is a peace loving and law abiding organization which does not habour or condone criminals. We agreed that night grazing should be banned henceforth; under-age herding is inimical to security and hence be banned and occupation of State Forest Reserves illegally is condemned.

“MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence. MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.

“Fake news is another issue that makes our security worse than solving it. There must be an enduring framework with MACBAN in a way that will help address security issues.

“That free range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between farmers and herders by strengthening an alternative security arrangements and make them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria.

“MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.

A standing committee comprising farmers, MACBAN and the government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.

“We must create economic opportunities for our people and reduce opportunities for criminalities in our country.”

Akeredolu misconstrued — Fayemi

Earlier in his opening address, Governor Fayemi said: “Everybody recognizes the importance of this meeting to national security, to peace and to national integration and development.

The statement, as regards the ultimatum by Governor Akeredolu, has been misconstrued and it has generated a lot of reactions.

“Around about the same time that was happening, we also had similar development in Ibarapa, Oyo State, which led to temperate reactions in the state.

“The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, immediately took the right step, made a broadcast to try and douse the tension in the state.

I’m also aware that he has since sent a team, led by his security adviser and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State to area.

“All of these point to the same issue that we are witnessing across the country. We feel very strongly, in the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, that we all should be working for the peace of the country.

“We know MACBAN in this part of the country. The South-West is a very accommodating region and there are people in MACBAN who were born here. Among them, there are those who speak better Yoruba than I do. They have a stake here, most of them have invested all their lives here.

“This is what appears to me to have generated the agitation we’ve seen. Unfortunately in the age of social media, things get out of hand very quickly. This is what needs to stop.

“For us in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, what we are after is the apprehension of criminals of any hue; criminals that are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo or Fulani. We are not after Fulani herdsmen.

“But there is nobody who does not feel a sense of insecurity in our country today. This issue of banditry, kidnapping, of general insecurity is all pervasive. And we have to be tough on crimes. And there is a question that members of MACBAN are victims of crimes too, the way we, who are not members, are equally victims.”

Crime has no ethnic colour — Makinde, Oyetola

Also speaking, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola, said crime has no ethnic colouration, noting that “we mustcontinue to encourage our people to work together and face our common enemy which are the criminals.

“We would continue to promote good neighourliness and go after criminals; we will support our security agencies to do their work.”

My order was unambiguous —Akeredolu

In his address, Governor Akeredolu cleared the misconception that his order was for the herdsmen to vacation the state.

Our neutrality is sacrosant – AIG

Also, the AIG Zone 11, Olufemi Agunbiade, urged Nigerians to stop giving crime ethnic colouration, saying “let us rise and deal with criminals.”

Agunbiade said: “No society is crime-free. We won’t allow crime to prosper again after the #EndSARS experience.

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