By James Sowole
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) Monday, agreed with the Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwatotimi Akeredolu, on issues that necessitated a seven-day ultimatum asking unregistered herders to quit the state’s forest reserves.
The agreement was the highlight of the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, between the NGF and the leadership of MACBAN in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The meeting, which was chaired by the NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, was attended by the leadership of MACBAN led by its Chairman, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa; the governors of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde; Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola; Governor Akeredola; and heads of security agencies in the state.
The meeting, held at the Ondo State International Event Centre, The Dome, Alagbaka, Akure, was also attended by the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru, and the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.
In the communiqué read by the NGF Chairman, Dr. Fayemi, the stakeholders agreed that night grazing should be banned henceforth.
It was also agreed that underage herding is inimical to security and hence be banned.
The stakeholders also condemned the illegal occupation of the state Forest Reserves.
Fayemi, who set the tone for the meeting, said it was conveyed to find a lasting solution to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the South-west geo-political zone of the country.
He said free range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders.
According to the communiqué, “MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practise ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.
“The order of the Ondo State Governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. He only ordered those occupying the Forest Reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.
“No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality.
“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.”
The communiqué also recommended the strengthening of an alternative security arrangements and make them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria.
It also stressed the need to build partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality.
“Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all,” he said.
While stating that MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence, the communiqué said the association is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.
As a measure to strengthen relationship among various stakeholders, the communiqué recommended the setting up of a standing committee comprising farmers, MACBAN and the government in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.
It also said that states must create economic opportunities for the people and reduce opportunities for criminals in the country.
In their opening remarks, various stakeholders had highlighted happenings in the matters for discussion as they were concerned.