As part of measures aimed at mitigating looming ethnic crisis in Nigeria, Governors from the southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria have met with the national leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in preferring a solution for farmers and herders clashes in Oyo and Ondo states respectively and they collectively resolved to ban all forms of open grazing in the region.
Rising from the meeting convened by the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led Governors’ Forum (NGF), the governors also banned night grazing, underage herding said to be inimical to security, and illegal occupation of state forest reserves across the region.
Other solutions proffered by the governors include that the MACBAN members embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about and that standing committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN, and the government be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.
They argued that the recent development, which was coming months after the country was beginning to pick up from the violence and destructions that marred protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, was misplaced and would be prevented by all means.
They agreed that though criminal activities by bandits, kidnappers, rapists among others who hide in forests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens were condemnable, should disagreement between herders and farmers should not be allowed to degenerate into ethnic crisis.
Speaking separately on Monday during the meeting which held in Akure, Ondo State capital, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said that his misconstrued directive had been informed by his administration’s commitment to end kidnappers and killers hiding under herdsmen activities to perpetuate their heinous crimes.
He noted that the kidnappers had been using forest reserves as an area of operation for kidnapping and it was pertinent that his government moves to restore normalcy and protect the citizens.
Akeredolu hinted that part of the measures being looked at was to place a ban on open grazing across the state and the region such that would allow peace to reign and prevent future herders, farmers clashes.
“Even our farmers are registered, we all agreed no night grazing, no underaged grazing. We will ban grazing in cities. I assure you we can all work together to chase all criminals from the state. We must be able to identify and move them out of the forest reserves. We must protect everyone living in Ondo State,” Akeredolu said.
Also speaking, the Oyo State Government, Seyi Makinde, said that with the recent rhetorics, mainly from nonstate actors, the regional stakeholders would not be adopting a criminal approach in solving the issue bordering on farmers, herders clashes.
He added that the state already has a law against open grazing which will continue to be implemented by security agencies across the state to ensure adequate protection of the people.
“We will not use criminality to solve criminality as nobody can predict what will end such. We will continue to work with our people to face the kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers who are our common enemies. We have to deal with the issue of fake news.”