Southwest governors to meet Fulani leaders over farmer-herder crisis
The six southwest state governors on Monday will meet some Fulani leaders over the crisis between farmers in the states and herders, mostly dominated by the Fulani ethnic group.
PremiumTimes reported that the meeting is aimed at discussing the ultimatum issued by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on the herders to vacate forest reserves in the state and also find a lasting solution to the repeated clashes between herders and farmers in the six states.
This is coming after the Ondo State government issued a seven-day ultimatum to herders to leave the state. A similar ultimatum was also issued in Oyo State by a youth leader in the state, Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo.
But Bello Bodejo, the president of Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of Fulani herders in Nigeria, said he has not been invited to the meeting, BBC Hausa reported on Monday.
Adeyemo blamed the herders for the spate of kidnapping and killings in the Ibarapa and Oke Ogun regions of Oyo State. He also claimed he was shot at when he visited the residence of Seriki Fulani in Igangan, a town in Ibaraba, Oyo State, last week.
However, Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde has since discredited Igboho’s claim, saying security agencies in the state fight crime and criminality irrespective of their tribes, religions, or creed.
He added that his administration would not allow anyone to threaten the peace of the state by acting unlawfully as such is against the nation’s constitution.
A similar stance was also maintained by the federal government while reacting to the Ondo State ultimatum order.
Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, said the Ondo government should rather dialogue with the leadership of the Fulani communities in the state.
Shehu said, while the presidency would not condone any form of criminality, it is cruel to define crime from the “nameplates, as a number of commentators have erroneously done- which group they belong to, the language they speak, their geographical location or their faith”.
He said Akeredolu, being a lawyer, “will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals”.
“The government of Ondo and all the 35 others across the federation must draw clear lines between the criminals and the law-abiding citizens who must equally be saved from the infiltrators,” he said.