South-West governors, Miyetti Allah agree to ban night grazing and underage herding
The South-West Governors Forum and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), on Monday resolved to ban night grazing and underage herding in the region.
The resolution was made in a meeting that took place in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had called the meeting following the executive order Governor Akeredolu that all Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying the state forest reserves should register with the state government or vacate within seven days, with effect from last Monday, January 18, 2021.
According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, they held in consensus that “night grazing should be banned henceforth while underage herding is inimical to security and hence be banned and occupation of state forest reserves illegally is condemned.
“MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence and MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.
“There must be an enduring framework with MACBAN in a way that will help address security issues.
“That free-range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders.
“Strengthening alternative security arrangements and make them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria.
“MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.”
“Standing committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN and the government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result, ” the resolution added.
Speaking during the meeting, Fayemi said the meeting became necessary in order for them to tackle the insecurity issues bedeviling the region and also to charter a part of survival for the region and Nigeria as a whole.
He said that “Everybody recognizes the importance of this meeting to national to security, to peace and to national integration and development. The statement as regards the ultimatum by Governor Akeredolu have been misconstrued and it has generated a lot of reactions.
“Around about the same time that was happening, we also had similar development in Ibarapa in Oyo State which led to temperate reactions in the state, but the governor of Oyo State, Makinde immediately took the right step, made a broadcast to try and douse the tension in the state. I’m also aware that he has since sent a team being lead by the Security Adviser and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State to the area.
“All of these points to the same issue that we are witnessing across the country. We feel very strongly in the Nigerian Governors Forum that we all should be working for the peace of the country.”
The South-West governors also insisted that Akeredolu's order was misconstrued and quoted out of context.
The Chairman of the forum and governor of Ekiti state reacted to the misconception by saying that, “I speak without any hesitation or reservation that the governor of Ondo State, a seasoned lawyer, a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association cannot under any guise talk about Fulani herdsmen vacating Ondo State.
“Vacating to go where? Vacating where they’ve lived, that they’ve traded and invested in, that they’ve been law-abiding citizens in. We know MACBAN in this part of the country. The South-West is a very accommodating region and there are people in MACBAN who were born here. Among them, there are those who speak better Yoruba than I do. They have a stake here, most of them have invested all their lives here.
“My understanding of what transpired was the statement referred to the forest areas, the reserves. It wasn’t even about evacuation. It’s about registration if you are going to continue to operate within the bounds of the law within the reserve area. This is what appears to have generated the agitation we’ve seen. Unfortunately in the age of social media, things get out of hand very quickly. This is what needs to stop.”
Meanwhile, the President of MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa has directed all Fulani herders in Ondo State and across the South-West region to immediately quit night and underaged grazing.
He also warned that herders should desist from taking their cows to people’s farms for grazing, as that contributes to the frequent clash between farmers and herders.
“I want to plead with all our members to avoid allowing cows stray into farms and should stop small boys as a matter of urgency from going to grazing and night grazing must stop either in Ondo State, South-West or across the country.
“This is one of the reasons for the problem between the herders and the farmers. This has always been causing conflicts between farmers and herders. I can assure you of our support and cooperation,” he said.
The meeting was attended by four of the six governors from the region including Governor Fayemi of Ekiti, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Akeredolu.
Also in attendance were governors of Jigawa and Kebbi states, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, including security agents across the South-West region.