Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, has said Fulani herdsmen should obey the Anti-Open Grazing Law in states where it is in force in the interest of peace and stability of the country.
Sanusi spoke on February 19, 2018, in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, at meetings with security agencies and interest groups.
The frontline monarch said the law is in the interest of everybody and not targeted at crippling herdsmen economically.
He said the law caters for the welfare of herdsmen, their host communities, farmers and security agencies.
The meeting, which was hosted by Ayo Fayose, the governor of Ekiti State, at the Government House Pavilion, was attended by Muhammadu Kiruwa, the National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN.
Security chiefs from the police, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the Army, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Nigeria Prison Services, NPS, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and local hunters attended the meeting.
Also present were leaders of herdsmen in the Southwest, leaders of Hausa and Fulani communities, farmers, traditional rulers and top government functionaries.
Amnesty was promised any armed herdsman who surrenders his arms to security agencies.
Emir Sanusi, who is a patron of MACBAN, was represented Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Kano State governor and sardauna of Kano.
He said: “My mission is not politics; it is about peace and peaceful coexistence of our nation. I am standing here for the Emir and I am the Sardauna of Kano.
“The Emir mandated me to come here with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and find out how we can work amicably. He feels that as a patron of the group, he must ensure peace. He praised Governor Fayose for promoting peace.
“The law Governor Fayose enacted is the best to defend the rights of farmers and cattle breeders. Whoever crosses the red line should be dealt with, as the law provides. Breeders should obey the rules of the communities they reside.”
Kiruwa described the meeting as an eye opener to end clashes between farmers and herders.
He said: “I am really impressed with the governor for organising this meeting. Some state governors would just sit in their offices and not being proactive like Governor Fayose.
“Some misconceptions that I personally had against the governor have been cleared now.
“I can say it categorically that Governor Fayose is a true leader of his people. He is definitely a lover of all groups, including the Fulani. I can say he is the Sarkin Fulani of Ekiti State.
“He is a peaceful leader and represents hope for all. We align ourselves with the grazing law, as made by the Ekiti State government because it protects the interest of all parties.”
The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, the Aladesanmi III, said Fayose, being a visionary leader, enacted the law, following the killing of some residents of Irele-Ekiti about two years ago.
He added: “Some people thought he wanted to create problems with the law. But as a visionary leader, he only took a proactive step and that was what prevented bloodshed, like we had in some states.
“We need to tackle the issue before it gets out of hand. We are toying with danger, if care is not taken. I would suggest that traditional rulers from across the country move round to meet and interact with the people.”
Fayose said the essence of the meeting was to resolve issues instead of beating the drums of war.
He said: “A criminal is one and should be so treated. Our interest is peace. As we are interested in the welfare of everybody, we must not allow criminal elements to go free.
“Our relationship goes beyond cows. We must respect each other and we will cooperate to achieve results.
“We want Ekiti to be a shining example. Anybody who needs to be charged to court or fined will be so disciplined.”
Also, the Oyo State government yesterday said all cattle herdsmen in the state must register or risk arrest.
The government said it would institute a regular monthly stakeholders’ meeting and set up of a special task force to monitor farmers and herdsmen.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi addressed farmers, Fulani herdsmen, the Agbekoya, community leaders, security operatives and others yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting at the House of Assembly’s House of Chiefs in Ibadan, the state capital.
Emphasising the importance of peaceful coexistence among the people, the governor said there is no difference between people, irrespective of their tribes.
He added that the selfish human nature caused the crisis among people.
Ajimobi said: “There is no difference between us as humans. We are the same but our selfishness, greed and avarice are what account for all our actions against each other. Everything is all about our selfishness and self-preservation. There is nobody here who is without a trace of human selfishness.
“We must sit down with relevant stakeholders – Miyetti Allah, farmers, community leaders and security operatives – and begin a monthly meeting on how to continue this effort.
“Oyo State is known for accommodation; we are known for our hospitality. We accommodate people and we must remain so. We must begin to implement the recommendations the stakeholders proffered at earlier meetings and not until there is a crisis.
“This meeting must take place every month and I will always be in attendance. All the security chiefs will be attendance. Prevention is always better than cure and we must consider that thoroughly. The second recommendation is that for all herdsmen, we must know all the Fulanis with herds in Oyo State. We must know them and register them and if possible, we must register and know their cows too.
“What the white has ahead of us is that they keep so many records and data. The government must play a major role in this game.
“What is the purpose of government? It is the protection and enhancement of security and peace of the people. When things are difficult, setting up a task force is the way out. When we had the problem of insecurity in the state, we introduced the Operation Burst. So, let us use that task force approach and let’s have security and our Operation Burst can do it…”
Police Commissioner Abiodun Odude noted that despite the effort of the state command to foster peace, stakeholders had recovered nine bodies in the last two weeks.
He said: “I want to inform the governor that about three weeks ago, we called a meeting of all the stakeholders, like this. About a week later, the Special Adviser on Community Relations also did the same thing. But in the past three weeks, things that have not happened in the state have started happening.
“On the fifth of this month, a case of cattle rustler was reported in Saki and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) team was deployed to get the other people. But on their way, they were ambushed and the Commander of SARS in Saki was butchered. Another policeman was also butchered, but he didn’t die. The suspect who was arrested was also killed.
“In Iseyin, about three days after that, we had a situation where a 70-year-old man was just killed on his farm. Two days later, we recovered five bodies in that same area. We are still investigating. About two days ago, another person was also killed.
“But one thing I am sure of is that policemen don’t die in vain. In the case of the policemen who were killed, about seven people have been arrested and we will arrest more.
“In Iseyin, we are still investigating and the culprits would soon be brought to justice. At Ile Ido, two suspects have been arrested.
“In the last two weeks, here, we have nine bodies that are yet to be accounted for. One thing I also want to add is that we are ready: we have the men, we have the equipment, the will and the capacity. We will not allow law and order to be broken down in the state. Anybody who feels he is above the law, we will deal with him or her accordingly.
“We hope that after this meeting, things will begin to work better in the state.”
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