Following the executive order of the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi 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, NGF, 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.
The meeting which held at the International Centre for Culture and Events (DOME), Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State, was to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the South west geo-political zone of the country.
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 as 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.
MACBAN on its part which claims to be a peace loving, law abiding organization which does not habour or condone criminals agreed at the meeting that:
(i) Night grazing should be banned henceforth
(ii) Under age herding is Inimical to security and hence be banned
(iii) Occupation of state forest reserves illegally is condemned.
(iv) MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence.
(v) MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.
(vi) There must be an enduring framework with MACBAN in a way that will help address security issues.
(vii) That free range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders.
(viii) MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.
Other strategies adopted at the meeting to reduce insecurity in the south west also include:
A. Strengthening an alternative security arrangements and make them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria.
B. Standing Committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN and the Government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.
C. Fake news is another issue that makes security worse than solving it and should be nipped in the bud.
D. Create economic opportunities and reduce opportunities for criminality in our country