We won’t allow killer herdsmen breed insurgency in S/West – governors
Segun Ayinde, Abeokuta
Governors of the Southwest states have raised the alarm over the influx of killer herdsmen in the region, saying that they would not fold their arms and watch the herders turn their states into a zone of insurgency.
They vowed that they would not allow killer herdsmen use their forests as their abodes to perpetrate their heinuous crimes ranging from, raping, killing, and kidnapping, among other crimes.
The chairman of the Southwest Governor’s Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, spoke at the stakeholders’ parley on farmers/herders’ conflict in Ogun state on Tuesday, held at Oba’s Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital, where four northern governors were present.
The Northern governors at the event included Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano; Abubakar Bagudu, Kebbi; Abubakar Sani, Niger and Bello Matawalle, Zamfara.
Akeredolu, who said that the Southwest governors were worried over the activities of the killer herdsmen that have continue pose threat to the security of lives and properties of the people in the region, allayed fears that if not checked on time they could breed insurgency in their zone like the Boko Haram in the north.
He said that killings and ransacking of their villages by the herdsmen, whom he said were foreigners migrating from neighbouring countries that border villages in Southwest especially in Ibarapa in Oyo state and Igbo Oro and Asa in Yewa area of Ogun state, must be ended so as not to degenerate to insurgency.
Akeredolu, however, called on the federal government, Northern Governors Forum and the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, MACBAN, as well as All Farms Association of Nigeria, AFAN, to join hands with the governors of the six southwest states to combat the menace.
He said that the farmers and the herdsmen, especially the Fulani in Nigeria, must embrace the synergy to make them live together as peace-loving people of Nigeria in the region so as to tackle the dastardly acts of the killer herdsmen before they turn to terrorists in their states.
The chairman said that the people of the Southwest states were not ready to experience the Boko Haram type of insurgency in the North, saying it was high time the governors started flushing out killer herdsmen out of their forest for peace to reign in the region.
“If we have criminals, we will be able to pursue them in our forests. If we are not careful their foreigners will breed insurgency and it will not happen in Yoruba land. We will not allow it. |That is our case. We must learn from what has happened in other states. Boko Haram is everywhere; that is why we are trying to prevent criminality in our forest. If we leave them, they will fester.”
“Let’s work together with Miyetti Allah; we must fight the kidnappers and cattle rustlers and, in fighting them, there must be a way we must do it. Let us work together to put an end to the big crisis. Let us chase the criminal away,” he added.
Speaking, the governor of Kano state, Ganduje said that the Fulani killings would not end until the federal government stopped their movement from North to the Southwest while the three other governors called for peace and unity to reign between the farmers and the Fulani herdsmen.
Earlier, the governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, who hosted the governors, called for a peaceful coexistence between the farmers and the herders, noting that all hands must be on deck to tackle the menace.
“It has become worrisome that people who had co-existed peacefully for years are suddenly at each other’s throat on account of sources of livelihood. From time immemorial, herders and farmers have peacefully cohabited and have continued to find joint solutions to their mutual challenges, occasional frictions and misunderstandings, while sorting these differences amicably,” he stressed.