Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos, has said cattle herding is undefendable in modern times and federal government need to convene a stakeholders meeting in resolving the farmer-herder crisis in the country.
There has been tension in recent weeks over the allegation that herders are responsible for killings and abductions in the south-west.
In January, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, ordered herders to leave the state’s forest reserves, while Sunday “Igboho” Adeyemo, a youth leader, had asked herders to exit Ibarapa local government area of Oyo, where attacks also occurred.
In a bid to resolve the crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security operatives to “go harder” on criminals and shoot anyone who possesses an AK-47 rifle illegally.
In a statement on Saturday titled, ‘Tinubu’s Statement On The Herder Crisis,’ the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said farmers and herders need to be supported by improving their method of operations to modern templates.
He said law enforcement agents are required in rural communities, adding that both federal and state governments “need to employ new technology and equipment to enhance the information gathering/surveillance and response capabilities of law enforcement”.
The former governor called for a stakeholders meeting to address the security challenges and to develop solutions in ending the farmer-herder crisis.
“Both innocent and law-abiding farmer and herder need to be recompensed for the losses they have suffered. Both need further assistance to break the current cycle of violence and poverty. In short, the continued progressive reform of many of our rural socio-economic relationships is called for,” he said.
“Based on these strategic observations, I recommend the federal government convene a meeting of state governors, senior security officials, herder and farmer representatives, along with traditional rulers and religious leaders. The purpose of this meeting would be to hammer out a set of working principles to resolve the crisis.
“After this meeting, governors of each state should convene follow-up meetings in their states to refine and add flesh to the universal principles by adjusting them to the particular circumstances of their states.
“In addition to religious and traditional leaders and local farmer and herder representatives, these meetings shall include the state’s best security minds along with experts in agriculture (livestock and farming), land use and water management to draw specific plans for their states.”
Tinubu said the measures alone will not provide the needed solution, adding that everyone “must get hold of our better selves to treat this matter with the sobriety it requires”.
He said Nigerians must unite against religious affiliations and ethnic sentiment by shunning violence and embracing peace.
“Until the violence is rolled back, we cannot resolve the deep problems that underlie this conflict. We will neither be able to uplift the farmer from his impoverished toil nor move the herder toward the historic transformation which he must make,” he said.
“Yet, as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, we must realize security measures alone will not suffice. Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step. Nor do we resolve this by hitching ourselves to emotional, one-dimensional answers.”