The All Farmers Association of Nigeria and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Ekiti State on Thursday met in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, to try to resolve the lingering crisis ocassioned by open grazing of cattle.
Both parties made suggestions on how to end the clashes, which have resulted in the death of many farmers in the state.
Only recently, armed herdsmen reportedly murdered two farmers in Ekiti, following a disagreement over grazing on farmlands.
Although there have been several measures and talk shops, the fatalities attending the clashes have been on the rise.
The state government had earlier promised to provide alternative grazing or ranches for herders to forestall further clashes.
The tensions between farmers and herders in the state informed the stakeholders meeting in Ado-Ekiti, moderated by the Nigeria Police.
At the stakeholders meeting, Joseph Adewole, a community leader of Ijero, lamented that a number of people had been killed in Orin and Isaba Ekiti and nobody had been prosecuted.
“Some Fulani people are claiming that Nigerian lands belong to them and that they must get it by force. Government must arrest those making such incendiary comments,” he said.
While the farmers prefer ranching for the herders as a lasting measure to the crisis, the herdsmen believe that criminal elements among the herdsmen should be arrested through proper identification.
The AFAN Chair in Ekiti, Adebola Alagbada, said establishment of ranches remain the best panacea to the farmers-herders’ clashes.
“Cattle ranches by government and individuals will help in resolving all these crises,” he said.
“If Chief Obafemi Awolowo could establish ranches across the southwest in 1958, why can’t we do same in this millennium time?”
Similarly, the head of Fulani in Ekiti State, Adamu Abache, called for registration of all members for easy identification.
“It is true that farms were being destroyed, but if we had registered with the local governments, we would have been able to identify these itinerant Fulani killer herders and they would have been known,” he said.
“We are not against arrest of criminals , but anytime they want to arrest, the police and other security agencies must ensure that the criminals are arrested not innocent Fulani herders.”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Babatunde Mobayo, said the command would henceforth enforce the presidential directive against those carrying AK 47 rifles illegally.
Mr Mobayo stated that the police in Ekiti were resolute to restore peace between the warring farmers and herdsmen in Ekiti, using the instrumentality of the laws and arbitration.
Mr Mobayo said no effort would be spared to halt ethnic clashes in the state.
“We are ready to implement the presidential order against those carrying illegal arms,” he said.
“If you carry unlicensed arms in Ekiti State, we are going to deal with you ruthlessly.
“To those carrying AK 47 without licence, it is like carrying death certificate and hang on it on your head, so carrying of AK 47 by non-state actors is not permitted in Ekiti.”
Mr Mobayo, who described as erroneous, the impression that the Police were protecting the Fulani herders, said his men had been handling all issues connected to the two feuding groups in Ekiti.
“We know that Fulani herdsmen most of the time go out of their ways to destroy people’s farms, but we have always been rising up to handle such cases without taking sides,” he further said.
“We were being careful because the locals as well used to perpetrate some of these evils under the cover of herdsmen .
“Don’t also forget that underage cattle rearing and night grazing have been banned.
“If there is any case against Fulani that I am not handling well, out can write a petition against me to the police Zonal office in Akure. I won’t protect any criminal.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...