The Osun State Government said on Tuesday that it has arbitrated in about 6000 cases between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state between 2014 and 2018.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Mudashiru Toogun, who doubles as the Chairman of the Committee on Peaceful Coexistence between Fulani/Bororo and crop farmers in the state, said no death was recorded due to conflicts between the two groups during the period.
Mr. Toogun, who spoke in Osogbo, said the committee used ‘traditional methods’ to resolve issues between the herdsmen and farmers.
He said some cases that were reported to the police and had gone to the court, were later referred to his committee and “amicable resolutions were achieved.”
“Governor Rauf Aregbesola set up the committee in 2014 even before the herdsmen and farmers clashes became major issues in the country,” he said.
“The committee visited the Fulani settlements across the state and they told us that they needed water and education.
“We provided 13 boreholes for them in various Fulani settlements between 2015 and 2016. The governor mandated the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to set up schools at the Fulani settlements and this was done immediately.
“When they realised that the government cares for them and that we are very sincere, they were ready to cooperate with us on any issue we present to them. We succeeded in resolving 6,000 cases from 2014 till date.
“The governor has mandated that we must do enumeration of all the animals in this state and we are starting from cows. Every cattle will carry a tag and identity number that will be allocated to it.
“The detail of every cattle in this state will be on a central database of the state which will also contain the full details of the owner of the cattle. This will prevent theft of the cows and enable us to identify invaders.
“In Osun, we do not have problem with the real Fulani herdsmen but some Bororo people are giving us serious problems because they are violent. Such Bororo people usually come from other states and we have been sending them back to wherever they came from.”
The commissioner said although grazing at night was not allowed in the state, the Bororos graze at night, making farmers “to cry the following morning.”
Mr. Toogun however, said all farmers and herdsmen in the state must abide by the rules and regulations set by the committee.
He also urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the Fulani herdsmen issue, while accusing “some powerful people in the state” of providing firearms for some herdsmen.
Mr. Toogun canvassed the provision of ranches so that herdsmen could feed their cows conveniently.
“The places where the cows used to feed have developed and people have built mansions there, whereas, the animals have multiplied and they will need to feed. The federal government should finance the state governments to have ranches so as to discourage open grazing,” he said.
“We live peacefully with the Fulani people in Osun. Most of them understand Yoruba language more than many Yoruba people. We know them and we can easily identify them. They don’t give us problem. It is the Bororo people that are troublesome here and they are deadly.”
In the South-west, violence between herders and farmers have caused deaths in Ekiti, Ondo and Osun states in 2018.
On Tuesday, the Ekiti State Government managed to secure a peace pact between the two groups through the mediation of the state governor, Ayo Fayose, and the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, represented by a former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau.