Worried by the recent destruction of lives and property as a result of the farmers/herders’ crisis in the Yewa axis, the Ogun State Government has commenced the process of finding lasting solutions to the menace.
To this end, a government delegation comprising top government officials and representatives of security agencies were sent by the Governor to the affected areas on what government tagged, ‘Confidence Building Mission’.
Speaking at the Palace of the Olu of Ilaro, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Afolabi Afuape, noted that though the farmers/herders’ clashes was a national problem, the State government is looking at ways of finding an enduring solution to it, stressing the need for the people to be vigilant by reporting strange faces and movements to security officials.
“Government is not happy with what is happening in this part of the State. We have come on the instruction of the Governor to see what can be done to address this crisis. Let me stress the need for peaceful co-existence among our people irrespective of where you come from. Though, this crisis is a national issue, government is putting security plans in place to secure the lives of our people in this area”, he assured.
Also speaking, his Information and Strategy counterpart, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, appealed to the people not to take laws into their hands, but allow the security agencies and traditional rulers to handle the situation.
Odusile called for peaceful co-existence among indigenes and people from other ethnic groups, saying that an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting has been scheduled to hold soon, as he appreciated the Royal fathers for dousing the tension that arose from the herdsmen attack.
Responding, the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, acknowledged similar challenges in other parts of the country, but added that it was becoming pronounced in the State in recent time, calling for immediate operation of ‘Amotekun’ Corps in the State, with involvement of traditional rulers in the selection of its operatives.
“The State Governor has done well by putting in place mechanism to address this problem. I want to plead with the Governor to commission the ‘Amotekun’ Corps. When doing this relevant stakeholder’s meeting, traditional rulers should be involved to recommend people who know the terrains. Round pegs should be put in round holes”, he advised.
He called for the meeting of traditional rulers to discuss the issue and advocated for the inscription of owner’s name on each cattle, maintaining that this would help in identifying the owner in event of destruction of farm by any cattle.
On his part, the Eselu of Iselu, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, who spoke in his palace traced the crisis to cattle feeding on farmers produce, calling for the creation of special area for the herders to graze their cattle.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, AIG Sola Subair (Rtd), who later had a chat with newsmen said a joint security task force to be stationed in the affected areas would take- off next week, revealing that the ’Amotekun’ Corps is springing up soon.
Contributing, the State Commissioner for Police, Mr. Edward Ajogun, noted that policemen have been deployed to the affected areas, as government has given security agencies the wherewithal to bring peace to the areas.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-ethnic Affairs, Prince Hadi Sani, who spoke in Hausa and Yoruba languages, pleaded with the people to be peaceful, saying no meaningful development could take place in a violent ridden environment.
The delegation in the course of the visit had a town hall meeting with the people of Oja Odan, Ibese and Ilaro, as well as the Hausa community at Dangote Cement Factory at Ibese, Kara and Abeokuta, where they appealed for calm and support in finding amicable solutions to the crisis.
The Member, representing Yewa North State Constituency II, Hon. Haruna Egungbohun who commended the efforts of the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, at combating the menace of the herdsmen, solicited for continued effort to prevent the reoccurrence of loss of lives and property.
Some of the people who spoke at the meeting, called for the protection of farmers and their produce, assuring that they are ready to live in peace with their neighbours, regardless of their tribe or religion.