The Southwest governors and leading traditional rulers from the geopolitical zone spoke with one voice yesterday on the increasing rate of insecurity in the area.
They expressed total support for the ban on open grazing.
The stakeholders, who had an extraordinary meeting on the security challenge in the Southwest, also asked the federal government to secure Nigeria’s borders.
The meeting, which was hosted by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, was almost stalled by the absence of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; and the Director-General of the Department of State Services.
They could not fly out of Abuja on account of bad weather.
In Bauchi, the local chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder’s Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, warned that it would resist any attempt by southern governors to send Fulani herdsmen away from their territory.
The stakeholders at the Ibadan meeting in a three-point communiqué at the end of their deliberations, “supported the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) on forest management,” and stressed the need for the federal authorities to fully secure and protect Nigeria’s borders.
They asked the media to “assist the country to end fake news.”
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, who spoke at the end of the meeting, said although the meeting was at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the trio could not fly out of Abuja due to bad weather.
He said that the governors and the traditional rulers thereafter decided to meet to appraise the security situation in the zone.
The meeting, which was held at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s office, Agodi, Ibadan, had in attendance five governors including the host, Governor Makinde; Governors Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
The meeting also had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Southwest, David Folawiyo, and security chiefs serving in Oyo State.
Others included the chairmen of Council of Traditional Rulers in each of the Southwest states and some first class monarchs.
According to Akeredolu, the meeting was held to find lasting solutions to the lingering security issues in the zone.
The meeting was also attended by Governors Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.
It followed the Ondo State Government order that criminals occupying government forest reserves should quit immediately.
We’ll send Southerners packing from North if their govs insist on evicting herders – Miyeti Allah
The Bauchi State chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, vowed yesterday that the association would resist any attempt by Southern governors to evict herdsmen.
He said it would be tit for tat by the north should the herders be evicted from the south.
Speaking to The Nation yesterday, Ahmed said: ‘’Everyone has the right to live anywhere he or she wants.
“In fact, herdsmen, based on their activity of pastoralism, own every part of Nigeria. So why should anyone go against the constitution?
‘’If the southern governors insist on sending our people away, we will have no option than to send their people packing too.
“We are no fools. We are only studying the situation. We are all human beings.
“If the leaders want to cause problems, they should not forget about the ordinary citizens.
“For now, we will remain loyal and we will also educate our people on the need for peaceful cohabitation. We won’t act like the foolish governors.
“If the custodians of law say there is no law, then are we the ones to uphold the law? We are only trying to protect our integrity for now.
“Besides, we can survive on our own because we produce our own food. Aside former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the Southwest, who else can feed up to 100 people?”
Sadiq, who added that any killer herdsman arrested should be severely dealt with, said the association will never encourage any criminality by herdsmen in the South.