The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), and heads of security agencies on Monday condemned the illegal occupation of forest reserves by cattle rearers in the Southwest region of the country.
This was part of a communique arrived at after a meeting of the groups in Akure, Ondo State, following a seven-day ultimatum given by the State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to the cattle rearers to vacate the forest reserves.
Present at the meeting chaired by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, were Akeredolu; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola; Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; the national leadership of MACBAN and heads of security agencies.
The meeting also resolved to ban night grazing and under-age herding of cattle, which it noted were inimical to security of the region.
It was further resolved that free range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders just as it agreed that criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status.
The governors and leaders of MACBAN noted that the order of the Ondo State Governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media, saying that he only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.
The meeting which was aimed at finding a lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest geo-political zone of the country, declared that no one had sent anyone away from any state or region, adding however that all hands must be on deck to fight criminality.
The resolutions of the meeting include; “There is the need to build partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality.
“MACBAN is a peace loving, law abiding organization which does not habour or condone criminals.
“Security agencies have been trying to stem the tide of criminality in the country but must step up their efforts in the fight.
“MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence. MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security”.
The meeting also noted that fake news is another issue that makes security worse than solving it, adding that there must be an enduring framework with MACBAN, which should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.
The meeting resolved to establish a Standing Committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN and the Government in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.