The Ondo State Agricultural Commodities Association stated the activities of the ‘Fulani herdsmen’ to ceaselessly wreck havoc on the produce of farmers in the State is becoming worrisome to its members.
The Association, which is comprised of local farmers, is demanding the sum of N2 billion from the Federal Government as compensation for the farmers whose produce was destroyed. The group also condemned the violence caused by the Fulani herdsmen.
The Chairman of the Association, Akin Olotu, spoke at a summit held on Wednesday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, expressing dissatisfaction with the suffering of farmers who produce foodstuffs for the entire country.
At the summit organized for selected stakeholders, Mr. Olotu expressed worry at a report published by SMB intelligence. The report claimed that over 7,000 persons have been killed in conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and farmer in the States of Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau in 2015.
“We are not here to cause a crisis or to accuse anyone, but to call a spade a spade and proffer sustainable solutions to the problem of nomadic cattle rearing.
“This issue is not not just ravaging our farms, but gradually and steadily snowballing into rape, robbery, inferno of our tree crops [cocoa, palm oil, and kola nut],” the report read in part.
The report called for all herdsmen to wear ID cards. These cards would include information such as the wearer’s name, place of origin, and the name of the owner of the cattle they herding.
If a herdsman is found without these ID cards, according to the report, they should be placed under arrest and their cattle should be confiscated.
SaharaReporters learned that the summit was aimed at finding short, medium, and long-term solutions to the problems of nomadic herdsmen and their cattle in Ondo State.
Mr. Olotu suggested that the Federal Government should create a government body, under the guidance of the security agencies, in all the 36 States and 774 local government councils in the country dedicated to the safety of the farmers.
He noted that the menace of the Boko Haram currently ravaging and threatening the country should be a lesson to the Nigerian government. He advised the ‘Emirs’ in the northern States to liaise with their governors for the creation of a large area of land to be dedicated to mega-cattle ranching.
According to him, the South-West Governors should begin reviving the indigenous breed as a matter of urgency to create jobs for the people stressing that the South-West is the biggest market for beef in Nigeria.
Mr. Olotu also recommended that the Ondo State government should have a central body in all the 18 local government headquarters of the State where reported cases could be handled effectively.
He further stated that the body should meet regularly and have an office that is accessible where all cases of attack on farmers and farm destruction can be reported and forwarded to the central body at the State level.
“The body should be in all local government headquarters. It should be made up of the most senior police officer in each LGA, three prominent traditional rulers in each local government, two representatives of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, three farmer representatives, four members of the House of Assembly, the local government chairman, and the two councilors,” Mr. Olotu said.
Mr. Olotu explained that cases should be forwarded to the National Assembly, the Presidency, and the Ministry of Agriculture continually.
The Association called for the Federal Government to modernized nomadic cattle rearing in the country and called on all security agencies to be alert to non-Nigerians penetrating into the ranks of the cattle herdsmen in the country.