By Kazeem Ugbodaga
All open and night grazing by Fulani herdsmen and underage herders have been banned in the South West zone of Nigeria.
This was one of the agreements the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, reached with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Ondo State on Monday.
The meeting was convened between the governors and Miyetti Allah, as well as security agencies to find solution to incessant killings and kidnapping in the Southwest.
The meeting was chaired by Governor Kayode Fayemi, Chairman NGF.
A communique issued at the meeting resolved that MACBAN is a peace loving, law abiding organization which does not habour or condone criminals and agreed that open, night grazing should be banned henceforth and that under age herding is Inimical to security and hence be banned.
The communique added that occupation of State Forest Reserves was illegally and condemnable and that security and welfare of the people of Nigeria is the primary purpose of government as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.
The communique added that the stakeholders are committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria, adding that insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all.
The meeting agreed that the order of the Ondo State Governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media, as he only ordered those occupying the Forest Reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.
“Criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status. Security agencies have been trying to stem the tide of criminality in the country but must step up their efforts in the fight.
“There is the need to build partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality. No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality.
“MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence. MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security. Fake news is another issue that makes our security worse than solving it,” the communique added.
The meeting agreed that there must be an enduring framework with MACBAN in a way that would help address security issues and that that free range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between the farmers and the herders
The communique also agreed to strengthening an alternative security arrangements and make them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria.
The stakeholders agreed that MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practice ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.
The communique added that a 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, harping on the need to create economic opportunities for people and reduce opportunities for criminalities in the country