In an attempt to address the security concerns shaking southwestern Nigeria, the governors of the geopolitical zone met with traditional rulers at the Oyo State Government House in Agodi, Ibadan, on Saturday.
The major highlight of the meeting was to find lasting solutions to the killings and kidnapping for ransom that have become the order of the day and the seeming helplessness of security operatives to tackle rising crimes.
The meeting also addressed the cases of farmers-herders clashes, leading to deaths, destruction of farms and other valuable properties.
The political and traditional leaders also unanimously agreed that open grazing had become unsustainable and must be stopped.
The meeting was attended by governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo.
The traditional rulers in attendance include Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi; Olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji; Akarigbo of Remo, Babatunde Ajayi, and Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Mr Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South-west Governors Forum, said the government must change the practice of open grazing by cattle breeders.
“We discussed that as we are supporting other areas of farming, like rice farmers and others, the need for government to support cattle breeding is now. And one of the ways we can support cattle breeding is to change the ways and means that cattle breeders are adopting now.
“So, you can find designated grazing areas where you can graze, you can have feed mills where you can feed, you do not have to trek with your herds from far.
“But, things that will lead to open grazing in these modern times must be looked at and the state and federal government, in particular, should give support as much as we can to cattle breeders.”
Mr Akeredolu said the leaders agreed that the influx of foreign herdsmen into the country due to porous borders is also causing security problems to the region and must be addressed.
“We all agreed that our borders have become too porous and that we need to do something urgently to prevent foreign herdsmen from coming into this country without any form of caution because a number of them have come in with their herds and what they do is of concern to us.
“We all believe that our borders need to be checked and we need to tighten our borders so that all those foreigners from Niger republic and those beyond bordering states don’t come in with their herds and destroy our farms.”
Speaking on forest management, the leaders agreed that forest management and preservation is the duty of the states and must be well looked at not to accommodate criminals.
“We all agreed that the time is now that we support the decision of National Economic Council (NEC) about forest management and that they believe that all the states should be in a position to manage their forest and that will give enough room for you to determine who is there, what purpose are they serving, and where you have people illegally.
“The state should be able to take some steps so that you can preserve our forest,” he said.
Others who attended the meeting were the Deputy Inspector General of Police, David Folawiyo; Oyo Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko; Garrison Commander, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Adesoji Ogunsugba; top officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Air force.