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ONDO GOVT’s ULTIMATUM: Miyetti Allah concedes, as herdsmen start registration

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Natives, Fulani herders clash in Southern Kaduna
Armed herdsmen

…Says no more night, under-aged grazing in S-West

…S-West govs, Jigawa, Kebbi back Akeredolu’s quit order

…Ondo gov was misconstrued—Fayemi

…Crime has no ethnic colour — Oyetola, Makinde

…Don’t negotiate with Myetti Allah, Yoruba leaders warn S-West govs

…Insecurity: S-West can’t tackle herdsmen crisis alone -– NEF

…We can’t live like slaves in our land — Igboho  lIt’s a sign of FG’s failure — CNG

By Dayo Johnson, Regional Editor, South-West, Dapo Akinrefon, Omeiza Ajayi, Luminous Jannamike & Shina Abubakar

Following the executive order given by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying the state’s forest reserves to vacate within seven days, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, yesterday, conceded to the demands of South-West Governors.

Governor Akeredolu had insisted that unless the herders are registered with the state government to operate in the reserves, they will be dislodged in seven days.  They actually started registering yesterday, following the peace meeting brokered by the Presidency.

This development came on a day some prominent Yoruba leaders warned the South West governors not to negotiate the continued stay of Fulani herders, saying they should all toe the path of Governor Akeredolu by issuing eviction notices to violent herders in their states.

This is even as Yoruba activist, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Igboho, insisted yesterday that Yoruba cannot live like slaves in their own land and vowed to contain the criminal activities of herdsmen across the region.

Also looking at the growing resentment against the activities of some armed herdsmen across the country, Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman, called on the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to take steps to implement the report of the Nasir el-Rufai Committee on True Federalism.

Similarly, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, said the South West geo-political zone alone could not address the security challenges facing the region, noting that only a collective national approach would resolve the farmers/herders’ clashes.

On his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, also advised Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to be more proactive and decisive in handling the security situation in the state.

S-West govs meeting with MACBAN

These were some of the fallouts of the meeting brokered by the Presidency yesterday between South-West governors and leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, to resolve the problems between farmers and herders in the region.

Present at the meeting held at the International Centre for Culture and Events, DOME, Alagbaka, Akure, Ogun State, were also security agencies and other stakeholders.

Some of the governors in attendance include those of Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Jigawa, and Kebbi states.

The National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, who conceded to the demands of the governors, directed Fulani herders across the South-West to put an end to both night and under-aged grazing with immediate effect.

No more night grazing, underaged grazing in South West- MACBAN

Speaking at the meeting, National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Kiruwa, warned herders to desist from taking their cows to people’s farms for grazing.

Kiruwa said: “I want to plead with all our members to avoid allowing cows straying into farms, they should stop small boys, as a matter of urgency, from going to graze; also, night grazing must stop either in Ondo State, South-West or across the country.

“This is one of the reasons we have herders and farmers clashes. This has always been causing conflicts between farmers and herders. I can assure you of our support and cooperation.”

On the quit order given by Governor Akeredolu, he said: “We believe dialogue is key in achieving peaceful co-existence. We assure their Excellencies that we will continue with our awareness campaign to our members to appreciate the sensibilities of their host communities by ensuring they live in peace.

“The menace of banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping emerged as a result of poor management of farmers/herders’ conflicts that gave rise to cattle rustling, thus giving birth to kidnapping, and later banditry.

“In all of these, our members are the worse victims and also culprits. To date, over 10,000 pastoralists have been killed as a result of farmers/herders’ conflicts.  Over five million cows have been lost to these incidents.

“We find it distasteful and dangerous the recent incidence in Oyo where people are allowed to take laws into their hands by killing and burning properties at will.

“The government should come down heavily on perpetrators of such acts and provide immediate palliatives to the families of people who lost their lives and properties in order to ease their frustrations.

“We are open to working with the NGF in designing what we think can work in solving these problems.

“We condemn all sorts of criminality, extra-judicial killings and the impunity that is associated with it. Once more, we reiterate that MACBAN has never and will not condone any form of criminality by anyone.

“We stand for peace and justice to all. We pray we will continue to have this kind of interactions from time to time to foster peace and harmony in Nigeria.”

Herdsmen have started registering — Ondo govt

Meanwhile, Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo said the herdsmen in Ondo State have started registering to operate in the state.

Speaking with Vanguard, Dojumo said: “The registration has commenced already.

“It started today (Monday) and it is a continuous exercise.

“My office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Amotekun office, are handling the registration exercise.”

Jigawa, Kebbi govs back Akeredolu’s quit order

At the marathon meeting, Governor Badru Abubakar of Jigawa State and his Kebbi State, counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, agreed with Governor Akeredolu that the herdsmen should register before operating in government’s forest reserves.

The Northern governors said it was absolutely wrong for herdsmen to do business in a state without proper registration with the state government, stressing that

there was nothing inappropriate in the order of Governor Akeredolu that they should register before operating in the forest reserves.

The communiqué

The meeting ended with a communique read by Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Kayode Fayemi.

It read: “Following the Executive Order of Governor Oluwaratim Akeredolu of Ondo State, SAN, to Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying the State Forest Reserves to vacate within seven days, with effect from Monday, January 18, 2021, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, led by its chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, met with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, security agencies and other stakeholders on January 25, 2021 at the International Centre for Culture and Events, DOME, Alagbaka, Akure in Ondo State to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest geo-political zone of the country.

“The meeting discussed vigorously and resolved that the 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 stakeholders are committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all.

“The order of Ondo State governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. 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.

READ ALSO: Quit notice: Assist Akeredolu, others to flush out criminal herders, M-Belt Forum tells FG

“MACBAN is a peace loving and law abiding organization which does not habour or condone criminals. We agreed that night grazing should be banned henceforth; under-age 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.  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. 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 farmers and herders  by strengthening an 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.

“A standing committee comprising farmers, MACBAN and the government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.

“We must create economic opportunities for our people and reduce opportunities for criminalities in our country.”

Akeredolu misconstrued — Fayemi

Earlier in his opening address, Governor Fayemi said: “Everybody recognizes the importance of this meeting to national  security, to peace and to national integration and development.

“The statement, as regards the ultimatum by Governor Akeredolu, has 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, Oyo State, which led to temperate reactions in the state.

“The governor of Oyo State, Seyi 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, led by his security adviser and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State to area.

“All of these point to the same issue that we are witnessing across the country. We feel very strongly, in the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, that we all should be working for the peace of the country.

“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.

“So, 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.

“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 me 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.

“For us in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, what we are after is the apprehension of criminals of any hue; criminals that are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo or Fulani. We are not after Fulani herdsmen.

“But there is nobody who does not feel a sense of insecurity in our country today. This issue of banditry, kidnapping, of general insecurity is all pervasive. And we have to be tough on crimes. And there is a question that members of MACBAN are victims of crimes too, the way we, who are not members, are equally victims.”

Crime has no ethnic colour — Makinde, Oyetola

Also speaking, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola, said crime has no ethnic colouration, noting that “we mustcontinue to encourage our people to work together and face our common enemy which are the criminals.

“We would continue to promote good neighourliness and go after criminals; we will support our security agencies to do their work.”

My order was unambiguous —Akeredolu

In his address, Governor Akeredolu cleared the misconception that his order was for the herdsmen to vacation the state.

Our neutrality is sacrosant – AIG

Also, the AIG Zone 11, Olufemi Agunbiade, urged Nigerians to stop giving crime ethnic colouration, saying “let us rise and deal with criminals.”

Agunbiade said: “No society is crime-free. We won’t allow crime to prosper again after the #EndSARS experience.

“We want to assure all stakeholders that our neutrality is sacrosant. We will not spare criminal, you can only run, you can’t escape.”

Don’t negotiate with Myetti Allah, Yoruba leaders warn S-West govs

Meanwhile, some leaders, under the aegis of Yoruba World Assembly, yesterday, expressed worry that if herdsmen were allowed to stay, residents in the zone were still not safe.

Led by Chief Taiye Ayorinde, the leaders, through its Secretary-General, Dr. Victor Taiwo, also warned the Federal Government not to toy with the corporate existence of the country by arresting Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Igboho, noting  that if government does, it would have assaulted the whole Yoruba nation and not just Sunday Igboho.

YWA, which is an umbrella body of 15 other associations, said this while speaking with newsmen ahead of a security summit fixed for February 4, 2021.

On the meeting of the South West governors in Akure, Taiwo said: “It is too late to cry when the head is off. We have had enough of Myetti Allah people. We don’t think anything good can come out of it.

“They have killed us, messed us up enough. We have had enough patience in the land. Brigands come killing, maiming our people. To now come and say you’re meeting with Myetti Allah is a concession that they are the ones causing mayhem.

“The only way forward is to protect ourselves. These people are incorrigible because they have godfathers who are propping them. They have given them license to do whatever they like.”

We’ll resist arrest of Sunday Igboho

The elders said unless the government wants to set the country on fire, that’s when they touch Sunday Igboho.

“He is not fighting for himself but for all Yoruba people. They are not going to arrest Igboho unless they want war. We are ready for them. If they touch Sunday Igboho, they have assaulted the whole Yoruba race and we are not going to take it lightly,” they vowed.

We can’t live like slaves in our land — Igboho 

Similarly, Sunday Igboho yesterday vowed to visit other states as Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos and Kwara to issue similar quit notice to herdsmen, with a view to ridding the region of crime.

Featuring on Rave FM ‘Frank Talk’ show in Osogbo, yesterday, Adeyemo said killing of innocent people is enough and will no longer be tolerated.

He said: “I will soon visit Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Lagos and Ondo and Kwara. I will visit anywhere the herders are in Yorubaland to issue the quit notice. We shall no longer live like slaves in our land; many of our people who are abroad can’t come home because their security is not guaranteed.

“I have a very good relationship with the Amotekun, Oodua People’s Congress and hunters. I urge the government to pay the Amotekun corps very well and equip them.

“The Yoruba should unite on the matter. Traditional rulers like Ooni, Alaafin, Ataoja, among others, are supporting this cause.

“I am not scared of anybody. I am fighting for the peace of my people, enough is enough. The killing is much.

“I am not ready for any dialogue with any government; they should just ensure that killer herders leave our land. The Federal Government refused to arrest the herdsmen who are perpetrating these evil acts, yet, they are ordering my arrest. They dare not. I am only tackling those who are fighting, killing, raping and kidnapping my people. If the government is not ready to make sure that those herders vacate our land, I am not ready for dialogue.

“On many occasions, the Seriki conspired with the kidnappers to collect ransom. Those herdsmen rape my people who can’t pay ransom; they even killed some people who challenged them.

“These people that are ordering my arrest know these kidnappers, Boko Haram, bandits but cannot arrest them, but they are after me for protecting my people.”

Be more proactive, decisive in handling security situation, Sports Minister tells Makinde

But the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, in a statement, accused Governor Makinde of being scared to take a decision that would protect indigenes of his state from attacks.

The statement, titled “Minister wants Makinde to be more decisive on security,” read: “For several months, citizens of Oyo State have watched with increasing concern as the security situation in our beloved state degenerated. Troubling accounts about killings, kidnappings, and herdsmen versus farmers’ conflicts abound.

“Like all the people of Oyo State, I expected Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to act prudently but with reasonable dispatch to quell the security situation before it got out of hand. We all waited for proactive steps and responses from the state authority certainly in vain.

“Governor Makinde seems to be paralysed by fear regarding this important security situation. This is the first serious test of his leadership of the state.

“The worsening developments in the state in the area of security are a direct result of a temporizing fiddling leader. The Governor has paid more lip service to the issue of security instead of offering solutions or taking proactive steps to stem the attacks and chart the path of resolution. For this is a complex issue that requires political courage and vision to resolve.”

Insecurity: S-West can’t tackle herdsmen crisis alone — Northern Elders

Reacting to the development yesterday, Northern Elders Forum, NEF, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately meet with the 36 state governors and service chiefs, with a view to examining how the current tensions in parts of the country, especially the South-West, could be de-escalated.

The Forum maintained that both national and regional strategies would be required to tackle the herdsmen menace.

In a statement by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF said: “The Northern Elders Forum has closely followed developments involving Fulani communities, host communities and governments in Oyo and Ondo States as well as reactions across the entire country.

“The Forum is deeply concerned that the country is threatened by irresponsible actions and comments by people with the responsibility to exercise caution and provide constructive leadership.

“We believe it is time for the Federal Government to recognize and deal with the issue of cattle herding as a national challenge, and adopt policies that will mitigate the problems it poses to the economy, farmers, herders and all communities.

“Most importantly, the Forum advises President Muhammadu Buhari to meet immediately with all State Governors and heads of security and law and order agencies to examine how the current tensions in the country can be de-escalated.”

Time to implement APC report on True Federalism — PGF DG

Meanwhile, the PGF DG, Salihu in a statement, titled: “Ethnic and Religious Hatred and the Deceitful Campaigns in Nigeria,”  said: “There is need to strengthen our politics to be able to manage this kind of difficult realities. So long as we are going to remain as a country with all our diversities, there will always be this kind of difficult challenges requiring skillful and careful handling.

“This may require that our political parties are able to intervene when problems of our polarisation get activated to the level of manifesting as a threat to our peaceful co-existence as a nation.

“As a party, the APC has a good experience when it comes to managing problems created by ethnic polarisation in the country.

“This is because in 2017 when the madness of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB and the so-called Arewa Youth got heightened so much that there was the senseless ultimatum to Igbo to vacate the North and national debate on restructuring was producing all manner of proposals including maps of break-away parts of Nigeria, the APC National Working Committee under the leadership of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun initiated internal consultations leading to the appointment of the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai led APC Committee on True Federalism.

“Although yet to be implemented, the report of the Mallam Nasir Committee on True Federalism provides a standard template of how a party in government should handle difficult challenges of polarisation.

“Certainly, if the party was able to move recommendations contained in the report of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee to the level of implementation, the current levels of misplaced anger against the APC and the Federal Government in the country would have been moderated.

“May be the challenge we have today presents a golden opportunity for APC to be able to initiate processes of implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the APC Committee on True Federalism.”

Slams Shehu

“Much more troubling is the fact that pronouncements of Mallam Garba Shehu on these issues tend to unfortunately accentuate our polarisation. While recognising that it is necessary for government to make some public responses to most of these developments, should it come from the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President?

“Being a matter that may require clarifications bordering on both issues of interpretations of the law and policy of government, one would have thought it is better handled at ministerial level. Besides, given the nature of such issues, a strategic approach should have been to allow for instance the Minister of Information to continue to manage the responsibility of communicating positions of the Federal Government, since the issue is not just about position of the President. It also involves the need to engage state governments.”

Handlers of Buhari pursuing Fulani Interest — Nyiam

On his part, a former Nigerian Army Engineering Corps officer, Col. Tony Nyiam, retd, alleged that the handlers of President Muhammadu Buhari are only answerable to the Fulani worldwide interest which, according to him, is of serious danger to the country.

Speaking on a monitored programme on Arise TV, Nyiam said: “The President himself had openly said that these people coming in are foreigners. Governor El-rufai himself also gave indication that if you are the president of a country and foreigners are coming in to intimidate your own people and to rape your own people, I would have thought that the Commander-in-chief would be the last to accept that.

“Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was my boss, the General Officer Commanding when I was commanding a unit under him. He went against Shagari to defend Nigerian interest against Chadians.

“In one of the briefings, he openly told us that most members of his family are from Niger and that he is a Nigerian officer and that he owes allegiance to Nigeria and I admired Buhari then, that a man whose family is partially from the Niger Republic is loyal to Nigeria.

“This was against all the pressure given by other people that Shagari should pull out and allow the Chadians have their way, General Buhari refused.

“So why is Buhari now so different? I think the answer to that maybe answered by his wife because the wife has been battling those who have been holding the president hostage? The President is no more Gen. Muhammadu Buhari some of us knew.

What Akeredolu must do to quit herders — Ozekhome

While providing legal advice to Governor Akeredolu on how to ensure herdsmen quit Ondo State, constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome said: “Legally speaking, the right channel available for Governor Akeredolu, in my humble legal opinion (if he must demand their exit within seven days), is for the governor to file an action at the Federal High Court, Akure, stating the reasons as to his request to oust and quit the herdsmen from the Ondo forest reserves.

“His reasons are strong and cogent enough, and courts would readily agree with him. This will ensure his acts with legal and constitutional imprimatur; not resort to self-help.

“Freedom of movement, in any case, is not absolute; though courts of law in Nigeria rarely grant applications that breach the fundamental rights of citizens.

“Consequently, once the governor can demonstrate to the court that the peace and order of Ondo State have been serially breached by the herders, the constitutionality of Governor Akeredolu’s order will not be faulted by a court of law; and same will be held to be constitutional; and not unconscionable, arbitrary, oppressive, discriminatory, illegal or ultra vires his gubernatorial powers. This is the best route to follow.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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