The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, have recommended a total ban on night grazing of cow herds in Ekiti state as part of efforts at putting an end to incessant clashes between farmers and cattle rearers in the state.
At a parley held at the Ewi’s palace in Ado Ekiti, the traditional rulers emphasised that night grazing should be prohibited from 6pm to 6am, adding that committees made up of farmers, cattle rearers, security agencies, representatives of traditional rulers and representatives of local government areas should also be established at community, local government area (LGA) and state levels.
The parley which was organised to settle the persistent conflicts over alleged grazing rights and destruction of farms by cattle herds in the state, was attended by representatives of the state government, led by the state commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi; members of the Ewi in Council; representatives of the Sultan of Sokoto and national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), led by its National President, Alhaji Muhammadu Kirwa Hardon Zuru; representatives of the Police and State Security Services (DSS), as well as various farmers’ groups and leaders of the cattle rearers in the state.
Commending the state government for efforts at maintaining peace in the state, the stakeholders stressed the need to curb the ugly trend, noting that though Ekiti people are reputed to be hospitable, it would not only be uncharitable but also unwise to take them for granted.
Other recommendations made at the meeting include, establishing local vigilante groups comprising of natives and Fulani cattle rearers that would be closely monitored by the security agencies, generating a comprehensive census of cattle owners in the state, and decentralisation of the leadership of the cattle rearers in the state to comprise an Ardo/Seriki Fulani in each Senatorial district in the state with a new head at the state level that would be responsible to the national body.
The stakeholders emphasised the need to reposition the leadership of Miyetti Allah Association for effective control of herdsmen in the state, stressing that grazing routes and reserves must however be developed to serve as a permanent solution to the problem in the long run.
Commending the Ewi and Sultan for their fatherly role on the issue, they noted that the patience, understanding and resilience of farmers’ groups in the state was laudable, adding that it was also noteworthy that the security agencies have been living up to their responsibilities.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi expressed gratitude to the traditional rulers and other stakeholders for efforts at averting what may otherwise have resulted in vast ethnic and religious crisis.
Hon. Odebunmi assured that the state government would not relent efforts at ensuring peaceful coexistence among the people without bias to their tribes and religion.