Herders, farmers reach agreement on local security, crime fighting in Ikole Ekiti

Fulani Herdsmen [Credit: Today.ng]

Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Ikole Ekiti, in Ikole Local Council of Ekiti State, have reached a consensus on a joint security patrol of the area to ensure the safety of lives and property during their respective economic activities.

The understanding was reached by the two parties at the capacity building workshop for community policing organised by CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the police in Ikole Ekiti Local Government Area.

The workshop, held at the council secretariat, was aimed at building the capacity of community policing groups for effective collaboration with the police in the fight against crime and prompt response to distress calls from community members especially farmers and herders.

Several cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers were recorded shortly before the end of last year, prompting a legislation regulating grazing by herders in Ekiti State.

Last week’s workshop was the second of CLEEN Foundation’s intervention in the area in fostering understanding between the herders and the farmers.

At the end of the workshop, the herders and farmers agreed to apply conflict management skills in their communities.

Using the Herdsmen and Farmers vigilante group, they agreed to identify and report disputes to the police.

The leadership of the herders and farmers resolved to design a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and present to the Local Government Council for harmonization.

They also agreed to hold monthly coordination and Community Accountability Forum, to track progress made and to identify areas of need.

The foundation’s Program Officer, Ebere Mbaegbu, representing the Executive Director, Benson Olugbuo, said the foundation in line with its mission of promoting public safety and security, developed a project to promote peace and security between herdsmen and rural dwellers especially farmers with the support of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI).

He noted that CLEEN Foundation commenced the project implementation by mapping of relevant groups that would be influential in promoting peace before the advocacy visits to security agencies and local government authorities of the selected Local Government Area.

He said the workshop was geared towards building the capacity of the community policing groups on conflict management, human rights, basic policing skills and organisational management, as well as encourage and ensure that community policing groups had the capacity to effectively work with the police in curbing crime.

He noted that crime was one of the aggravating factors of the conflict between herders and rural dwellers.

According to Mr. Mbaegbu, CLEEN Foundation is implementing similar workshop in Imo, Abia and Enugu States (South-East) Oyo and Ekiti States (South-West).

Suleman Yakubu, Chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association in Ikole-Ekiti, thanked the organisers of the workshop, noting that the association translated information from the previous workshop to Hausa language and further educated members especially the ones in the bush.

He said the effort had increased their awareness on conflict management which had further led to crime reduction in the area.

Owoade Idowu, Chairman All Farmers Association Ikole Ekiti, commended the effort of Mr. Yakubu in ensuring that herders did not encroach into farm lands.

He, however, observed a trend of children cattle rearers in the community and warned that there should be a stop to it.

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