Farmers in Ondo State rose from a meeting on Tuesday to address the perennial conflict between farmers and Fulani herdsmen, concluding that the planned grazing zones and grazing routes would not be feasible in the state.
In January, President Muhammadu Buhari said a plan to map out grazing areas would soon be presented to the Nigerian Governors Forum as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing.
But the Ondo farmers said in a communiqué that the planned grazing routes and zones were not practicable in the state as lands were not sufficiently available for such projects.
They also demanded federal government’s immediate payment of N2 billion compensation to victims of herdsmen in the area.
“The federal government should encourage and facilitate the option of feed lots, making hays and establishment of mega ranches in the North,” the communiqué read in part.
The farmers said that the nomadic herdsmen were entitled to a settled life as well.
The farmers held that the position had become necessary in view of the peculiarities of Ondo State as well as other South-West states that are all largely tree crop zones and in further consideration of the fact that the people were largely farmers.
“We cannot afford to be lukewarm to the havoc being wrecked on our people through wanton destruction of our farms, bush burning, rape, robbery and kidnapping (the recent one being that of the Chinese),” the communiqué read further.
They argued that it should no longer be accepted that the nomads would continue a life of wandering about in the jungle in the guise of keeping their culture.
“Culture is dynamic, it is not static and that the direct descendants of father Abraham/ Ibrahim which are directly the Jews and the Arabs respectively have modernized their husbandry and they are doing better.
“The culture of roaming about with animals serves no one’s interest, including that of the cattle, the herdsmen, the farmers and the nation.
“If our brothers up North are not ready to modernize their culture, it should be restricted to their geographical zone, since culture is geographically restricted as well,” it read.
The farmers therefore called on senators and representatives from Ondo State to press for reliefs for the plight of farmers in the state as a result of the activities of herdsmen.