James Sowole in Akure
Disturbed by the incessant invasion of farmlands by herdsmen with its ugly effects on the socio- economic lives of the people, Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko on Monday raised the alarm that Nigeria is heading towards the precipice unless urgent steps are taken to check the trend.
The governor raised the alarm during an interview with journalists after he held a meeting with members of the state branch of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the his office in Akure.
The meeting was against the backdrop of the killing of the OPC Coordinator in Akure North Local Government, Ayodele Ojo by herdsmen who invaded the farm of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae.
The deceased was one of the OPC members hired by Falae to guard his farm against constant grazing on his farm, which had led to destruction of his crops on many occasions.
While appealing to OPC members who said they would have engaged in reprisal attack but for the intervention of Falae and the governor, Mimiko said government has put in place a lot of fire fighting efforts in the last 48 hours to ensure that there’s no retaliatory attack from the group.
“There’s no question about the fact that this is becoming a monster of sort. I’ve had cause to express my views on this and I think we all ignore this menace as a nation, I can see us moving towards a precipice and we must do something about it, it’s getting dangerous, the audacity is very disturbing.
“Apart from the fact that this is a challenge to food security, I can tell you that there’s hardly any full scale farmers or business farmers in Ondo state that had not had one form of encounter with these herdsmen.
“When it comes to killing now, killing people over their own property, or land , then it is a very big challenge. For me, I think the way out is for the Federal Government to collaborate with some states governments in the North to set up big ranches with dams and other facilities, even schools for these herdsmen. If we don’t do this, it will get to a stage that people will defend themselves”, he said
The governor, who said the matter should not be politicised in whatever manner said all stakeholders must come together and decide on how to find a lasting solution to the menace that is threatening the peace of the nation.
“The current situation requires all the stakeholders from the President and this is a bi-partisan issue, all major stakeholders must come together on how to resolve this issue.”
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