Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, has inaugurated a 20-man peacekeeping committee to address the lingering crisis involving farmers and herders in some rural communities in the state.
Abiodun inaugurated the committee on Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, stating that the committee is empowered to “look into remote and immediate causes of clashes between farmers and herders and find lasting solutions.”
The committee headed by Kayode Oladele, a former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, was given four weeks to submit its findings to the state government.
“Government believes with the committee, what really happened to disrupt the peace of the areas will be made known because knowing what happened will prevent occurrences and how to solve it,” the governor said.
“You will ensure that the clashes do not happen again. But if it happens, you will know the steps to be taken. You will also look at any other matter that threatens peace in the State.”
He also pledged to provide palliatives to farmers and herders displaced by the clashes, directing the committee to liaise with the Ministry of Special Duties for seamless distribution.
Abiodun directed the Ministry of Housing to provide accommodation to those whose houses were destroyed.
“No meaningful development would be achieved if clashes like that of the farmers and herders are allowed to continue,” he added.
Meanwhile, during the inauguration, Abumumuni Ibrahim, the state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), pledged that his group would cooperate with the committee in its assignment to find lasting solutions to the crisis.
However, Haruna Abiodun, a member of the state house of Assembly, representing Yewa North Local Government Area, the epicentre of the crisis, noted that “peace would return to the axis when each operates within its bounds.”
Members of the Committee include; Abiodun Egungbohun, Commissioner of Budget and Planning; Olaolu Olabimtan, Commissioner for Housing; Jamiu Omoniyi, Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-Ethnic Affairs; Sani Hadi, Chairman, Imeko –Afon LG; Babatunde Davis, State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Segun Dasaolu; and Oba Benjamin Olanite, traditional ruler (Onimeko of Imeko land).
Others are; Oba Ebenezer Akinyemi, a traditional ruler (Eselu of Iselu); Chief Bidemi Akorede, Baale of Igbooro; Egungbohun Deinde, a Community leader; Alhaji Kabir Muhammed, the Southwest Coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Alhaji Bashir Eggua, another representative of the Fulani community.
HumAngle reported that various communities in the state are troubled by incessant clashes between farmers and herders.
Scores of lives have been lost while various farmlands are abandoned.
The situation has triggered public outrage. Early this week, HumAngle reported that four Northern governors were in the state to meet with the state government and stakeholders, including farmers, herders and traditional leaders.
The Northern governors were Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bello of Niger State and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
The governors called for calm among the people and proposed solutions that may end the crisis.