Ogun Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has held a crucial meeting with four northern governors and other stakeholders on how to resolve the recent farmers-herders’ violent clashes in parts of the state.
The meeting, which was held at the Obas Complex in Abeokuta, was also attended by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo and four northern governors.
The governors were Abubakar Bello (Niger); Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) and Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano).
The Yewa-axis of Ogun had recently recorded a series of violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
On Thursday, Dapo Abiodun set up a special task force comprising top government officials, security agencies, and local vigilante groups to embark on a fact-finding mission to the area.
Mr. Abiodun stated that the meeting became necessary because the violent clashes would assume a dangerous dimension.
“I find it worrisome that farmers and herders who have been living for many years in our state and have continued to find joint solutions to their mutual challenges are suddenly at each other’s throats on account of sources of livelihood.
“We have noted that the misapprehensions had taken a violent dimension in the last couple of weeks with cases of arson, maiming, and killings in extreme instances.
“The question is: what could have turned issues that hitherto had easy and workable templates for resolutions to suddenly become seemingly intractable?” he pointed out.
The governor insisted that the state could not fold its arms concerning a problem taking on an ethnic coloration.
“We have set up a fact-finding team headed by a special adviser to the governor who is a retired assistant inspector-general of police. We have deployed a special security task force comprising of the military, Nigerian police, Department of State Services, local vigilante groups, representatives of farmers, and representatives of other ethnic groups resident in our dear state.
“Already they are stationed in the hot spots of the conflict, and we are sending them technical and logistic support, including vehicles and communication equipment. Additional vehicles and communication gadgets have been procured and will be given out today after this event.
“Just on Monday, we held a Security Council meeting where this issue was extensively discussed, and thereafter we relocated to the hotspots of crisis for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation,” he explained.
The governor stressed that his administration’s priority was the safety of everyone’s lives and property irrespective of the circumstances of their birth, ethnic or religious leanings.
He said it had become evident from the interim report of the fact-finding team that “some elements are bent on setting our people against one another by whipping up ethnic sentiments.”