Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has warned that the Southwest Governors will not allow foreigners occupying the forest reserves illegally to perpetrate crimes to breed insurgency in the Southwest region.
Governor Akeredolu said the Southwest is learning from the festering cases of insurgency in other states in the country.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, at the Ogun State Government Stakeholders Parley on Farmers/Herders Conflict held at Abeokuta, Ogun State on Tuesday, the Governor stressed that criminality must be jointly fought together.
The parley hosted by the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun was also attended by the Governors of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello and Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle.
Others at the meeting include, Traditional rulers , leadership and members of the Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Farmers Association and heads of Security agencies.
The Governors unanimously agreed that there is need to stop open grazing and check the influx of foreign herders into the country without proper identification and records.
Arakunrin Akeredolu noted that what is important is to identify ways to reinforce and foster peaceful coexistence between the people in the Southwest and the House/Fulani who have been living in the region for ages.
He joined the Kano State Governor on the call to stop the movement of cattle from the North to the South as one of the ways of providing lasting solutions to farmers/herders clash in the country.
Governor Akeredolu highlighted the commercial gains and advantages of keeping cows in designated areas instead of moving them around from one region to another, urging them to reflect on the business opportunity that the situation was offering.
The Governor further reiterated the need to place a ban on open grazing, stressing that it will continue to create problems between farmers and the herders.
Arakunrin Akeredolu said criminals illegally occupying forest reserves in the Southwest will be flushed out, adding that those who are interested to do legitimate business in the forest must be registered.
While calling on the Federal Government to provide incentives for herdsmen, Governor Akeredolu said incentives must be made available for animal husbandry just like it is done for farmers.