The Ogun State Government has commenced the process of finding a lasting solution to the farmer-herder crisis in the State.
To this end, a government delegation comprising top officials and representatives of security agencies was sent to the affected areas on what Government themed, “confidence-building mission”.
Speaking at the Palace of the Olu of Ilaro, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Afolabi Afuape noted that though the farmer-herder crisis was a national problem, the State Government was looking at ways of finding an enduring solution to it as Government was not happy with recent happenings in some parts of the State.
“Government is not happy with what is happening in this area and part of the State. We have come on the instruction of the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to see what can be done to address this crisis.
“I must stress the need for peaceful co-existence among all 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.
Afuape stressed the need for the people to be vigilant by reporting strange faces and movements to security officials.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile appealed to the people not to take the laws into their own hands, but to allow the security agencies and the traditional rulers handle the situation.
While calling for peaceful co-existence among indigenes and people from other ethnic groups, Odusile disclosed that an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting was scheduled to hold soon to find solutions to the problems.
The Information Commissioner appreciated the royal fathers in the area for dousing the tension that arose as a result of the attack from the herdsmen, calling for the sharing of necessary information that would lead to the end of the crisis, as the State Government was poised to find a permanent solution to the crisis in the state.
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 times.
The Oba called for immediate setting up of the Amotekun Corp in the State, while advising the involvement of traditional rulers in selecting its operatives who know their different terrains.
“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 Corp. When doing this, all critical stakeholders including the traditional rulers should be involved in recommending people who know the terrain. Round pegs should be put in round holes,” he advised.
The Monarch called for the meeting of all traditional rulers to discuss the issue, advocating for the inscription of owners’ names on each cattle, and maintaining that this would help in identifying the owner in the event of destruction of farms by cattle.
Speaking in his Palace, the Eselu of Iselu, Oba Ebenezer Akinyemi traced the crisis to cattle feeding on farmers’ produce and called for the creation of special areas for the herders to graze their cattle.
He also called for the rehabilitation of schools in the area to attract more children, saying that the number of out-of-school children were increasing in the area.
Speaking in an interview, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Rtd AIG Sola Subair said a Joint Security Task Force that would be stationed in the affected areas would take off next week, just as the Amotekun Corp would come into being very soon.
Also speaking, 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 as no meaningful development could take place in a violence-ridden environment.
The delegation in the course of the visit had a town hall meeting with the people of Oja Odan, and addressed the people at Ibeshe and Ilaro Garage, as well as the Hausa community at Dangote Cement Factory at Ibeshe and Kara, Abeokuta, where they appealed for calm and support in finding amicable solutions to the crisis.
The Member representing Yewa North State Constituency 2, Hon. Haruna Egungbohun, who commended the efforts of the State Governor towards combating the menace of the herdsmen, called on the State Government to continue to beef the axis with security operatives to prevent further loss of lives.
Some of the people, who spoke at the meeting, called for the protection of farmers and their produce in the areas, assuring that they were ready to live in peace with their neighbours.