Ondo state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has described the incessant attack on former Secretary to Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae by Fulani Herdsmen as an affront on the Yoruba nation, just as he registered that the lawlessness of the herdsmen is a challenge to food security.
He cautioned that the country is heading towards precipices if the activities of the Fulani herdsmen was not curtailed by the Federal government because according to him, it has become a monster threatening the security situation of the country.
Governor Mimiko while speaking at a peace meeting with members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Akure on Monday, April 11, 2016 said the menace demands national emergency and called on the Federal government to arrest the situation.
He said, “There is no question about the fact that this is becoming a monster of sort. I have had cause to express my view on this on many occasion 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 as early as possible, it is getting dangerous, the audacity is very disturbing.”
He condemned the recent attack on the farm of Chief Olu Falae and the killing of one of the guards, Ayodele Ige by the Fulani herdsmen describing the development as unfortunate and barbaric.
He appealed to the OPC members not to take laws into their hands, just as he commended all the security operatives in the state for rising to the situation saying the police have been supportive, they have been tracing the people behind the killing of the guard, with an assurance that they will be brought to book.
Mimiko said if urgent steps are not taken on the issue, it will get to a stage that people will resort to self-help noting that the audacious incursions of Fulani herdsmen to other people’s territory cannot continue for too long in the country.
“These herdsmen must be called to order, these wanton destructions, audacious incursions in other people’s territory cannot continue for too long,” Mimiko said.
The governor also noted that the activities of the Fulani herdsmen will not only pose a threat to national security but a great challenge to food security especially when people are calling for the diversification of the economy while agriculture remains the main focus.
“It is very ironical, we have been talking about diversification and agriculture is the main focus but in this state there is hardly any medium scale or large scale farmers that has not had any encounter or the other with the herdsmen.
“They just go to the farm and devastated the farms, some of them have been turned to perpetual debtors because some of the input for the farms are from bank loans , the herdsmen will just get there and destroy these farmlands and we are talking of diversification.
“But I think if we don’t do anything about the activities of these herdsmen, I can see a threat to the security of this country so it is a major challenge and I think the President and all major stakeholders should take this as a very serious challenge,” the governor said.
Mimiko specifically picked holes in the proposed Fulani grazing reserves bill by the National Assembly saying the law will further aggravate the crisis between the land owners, farmers and the Fulani herdsmen.
He noted that those behind the cattle rearing business are elites in the society and they should be ready to work with state governments across the grazing areas since the cattle rearing is for commercial purposes.
“The owners of these cattles, according to the information in my disposal are well to do people, they are elites and if cattle rearing is commercial venture, why should they not contribute in collaboration with state government or Private Public Partnership or whatsoever to set up ranches?
“So if they want to graze on such ranches, they pay a fee, after all they don’t sell these cattle for free. It is a commercial issue, they should step up these ranches. Any law on grazing reserves will not find comfort in the constitution.
“For me, I see the grazing reserves aggravating the problem, though I’ve not read the law but I don’t see how that law can find comfort with the land users act, the control of land is vested in the governor of the state, I can’t see any federal law that will compulsorily acquire any land from any state government, in my state for example, it cannot work,” he said.