Fulani herdsmen

Governors of the South West geopolitical zone on Monday resolved to ban all forms of open grazing in the zone, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said.

Makinde said the decision was reached when the governors met with the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), as well as security chiefs in Akure, Ondo State capital today.

The meeting had in attendance, the host governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.

“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,” Makinde tweeted.

“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.”

The meeting was held as a fallout of the January 18, 2021 order by Akeredolu to herdsmen to leave Ondo forest reserves within seven days following incidents of kidnapping attributed to Fulani herders.

Violence had erupted in Igangan, Ibarapa, on Friday when a popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlement in the ancient town to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.

Meanwhile, both the governors and Miyetti Allah had reached agreement on the quit order issued by Akeredolu during the meeting on Monday.

Recall that following the order, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said it was wrong for Akeredolu to blame the high level of insecurity in his state on herders.

But his position was countered by several individuals and groups, including Afenifere, whose spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin, accused the presidency of defending herders rather than preferring solution to insecurity.

At the meeting of Monday, Akeredolu said he was misconstrued on the directive to herders.

“Following the Executive Order of the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwaratim Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, to the Fulani Herdsmen illegally occupying the State Forest Reserves to vacate within seven days With effect from Monday 18″ January, 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 25th January, 2021,” a communique issued after the meeting read.

“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 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 criminality.”

At the meeting, both parties also agreed to ban night grazing and underage herding.