Farmers and cattle rearers in Ekiti State on Thursday agreed that the establishment of cattle ranches would help resolve the lingering crisis and tension between them in the state.
The state chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Ekiti State, Mr Enoch Alagbada and Head of Fulani in Ekiti State and leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Ekiti chapter, Alhaji Adamu Abache, said cattle ranches and registration of herders remained viable solution to the incessant farmers-herders clashes.
They spoke in Ado Ekiti during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the instance of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to find a lasting solution to farmers-herders clashes.
Ekiti State Government, in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan, has said it would upgrade the existing Irele Grazing Reserve, established since the western region days and make it available for herders for ranching as a way of averting farmers-herders clashes.
Alagbada, who said the establishment of ranches remains the best panacea to farmers-herders clashes, added, “Cattle ranches by government and individuals will help in resolving all these crises.
He queried, “If Chief Obafemi Awolowo could establish ranches across the Southwest in 1958, why can’t we do the same in this millennium time?”
Abache, who corroborated the AFAN boss, called for registration of all herders for easy identification, saying, “It is true that farms were being destroyed, but if we had registered with the local governments, we would have been able to identify these itinerant Fulani killer herders.
“We are not against the arrest of criminals, but anytime they want to arrest, the police and other security agencies must ensure that the criminals are arrested not innocent Fulani herders.”
The Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, said that the police in the state were resolute to restore peace between the farmers and herdsmen using the instrumentality of the laws and arbitration when necessary to halt ethnic tension.
Mobayo, who described as erroneous, the impression that the police were protecting the Fulani herders, said his men had been handling all issues that are connected to the two feuding groups in Ekiti State.
The police boss, who said no effort would be spared to halt ethnic clash in the state, said, “We are ready to implement every Presidential Order against those carrying illegal arms. If you carry unlicensed arms in Ekiti State, we are going to deal with you ruthlessly. Carrying AK 47 without a licence is not permitted in Ekiti.”