Kogi Security Summit: Herders, Farmers makes peace pact
This agreement was reached at the Kogi State Security Stakeholders summit which was chaired by the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alh Yahaya Bello. A summit which had in attendance all traditional rulers, security heads, ethnic and religious groups representatives and political leaders.
State chairman of CAN, Bishop Ibenu Kogi Christain Association of Nigeria, a major stakeholder in the summit, while reacting to Fulani issues, stated that the politicisation of the issue of herders/farmers must be avoided as God will judge both motive & actions. He said they will continue to advocate for gun control, while calling on government to help the Fulanis to modernise also suggesting that land issue is not their only problem.
In his remark he added that “certain comments within the press are most unhelpful, so we must be careful.” Lastly, he called for the adequate compensation of land owners if their land is taken for establishment of ranches or colony.
In his address, Special Adviser to the state governor on security, Navy Commander Jerry Omadara (retd), described the security summit as another opportunity for the state to chart a way forward in sustaining the existing peace in Kogi State.
Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr Edward Onoja, while presenting the framework for security resolution, opined that there must be a paradigm shift in the ways and manner people handle issues of security in the state.
Also speaking, National Organising Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers, Alhaji Aliu Saleh, assured the governor that the leadership of the Fulani in the state will ensure that they live and do their businesses in harmony with the communities where they live.
Also reacting to the topic of the day, the Obadofin of Kabba said he had been bombarded with messages of invasion of Fulanis in his domain, most of which have turned out to be untrue. He suggested the setting up of committees at the grassroots to resolve these issues.
Also speaking on Fulani herdsmen, the Onu of Ibaji, Chief John Egwemi, thanked the Governor for making it possible for their children to return home as Kogi is now safer. He said the Fulani are welcome in his domain and have always been coexisting in peace. He said the fear is that people are hiding behind Fulanis to commit crimes.
“Our problem is not with the resident Fulanis. Even they are scared of the coming of others. We are happy with the plan to register and capture data of pastorists,” a commentator in the Summit stated, while the Commissioner of Police also disclosed his support for Community Policing to curtail the excesses of the foreign herdsmen.
Chief Egwemi who represented the Attah Igala , His Royal Majesty Dr Michael Ameh Oboni II, noted that the people are going to live and do their legitimate businesses in peace with the Fulanis and other settlers.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of Kogi State Security Trust Fund, Mr Isiaka Oyibo, charged the state government to form joint cooperative society for herdsmen and farmers that would reflect Kogi character to foster unity among them.
Oyibo also urged the state governor to encourage youth through massive empowerment to discourage youth restiveness and idle mind.
Gov. Bello has however instructed all administrators to meet with all stakeholders in their LGAs to come up with practical and inclusive strategies to ensure lasting peace and security, saying since the revolution of agriculture, the same support the state is giving to rice, cassava and cashew farmers will be given to anyone interested in raising livestock. As he called for the formation of associations to this end.
Gov. Bello however assured farmers that no herder that destroys crops would be allowed to go unpunished. He also assured the Fulani that any illegal killing of cattle will be punished. Saying the media should be guided by the ethics of the profession and do their jobs fairly.
At the end of the summit, the stakeholders resolved to live harmoniously with one another for the growth and development of the state.