The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a 20-man Peace Committee on Herder-Farmer Conflicts, headed by a former House of Representatives member, Hon. Kayode Oladele, with a charge on members to look into the remote and immediate causes of previous clashes and find lasting solutions to possible, future crises.
The Governor spoke while inaugurating the Committee at the Oba Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, said government was hopeful that the Committee would unravel activities that led to crisis in the affected axis of the State.
The Governor also ordered the Ministry of Housing and that of Special Duties to, within 24 hours, rehabilitate all displaced persons and work out compensation for all victims of the skirmishes.
“Government believes, with the Committee, what really happened to disrupt the peace of the areas will be made known, and knowing this will prevent future occurrences and how to solve them.
“You will ensure that the clashes do not happen again. But if it happens, you will know the steps to be taken. You will also look into any other matter that threatens the peace of the State,” the Governor said.
The Committee, according to the Governor has four weeks to carry out and submit its assignment, adding that it would be a standing one saddled with the responsibility of engendering peaceful co-existence in the State.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was impressed with the methods adopted by the State Government in addressing the crisis, stating that this has made the President direct other states in the Country to adopt the same template in resolving the herder-farmer crisis.
He said palliatives would be given to all farmers and herders affected in the clashes, directing the Committee to liaise with the Ministry of Special Duties for seamless distribution, just as he directed the Ministry of Housing to provide accommodation to those whose houses were destroyed.
Governor Abiodun, while enumerating the link between peace and development, noted that no meaningful development would be achieved if clashes like that of the farmers and herders is allowed to continue. He informed that the aim of the State was to become number one in Internally Generated Revenue, IGR in the Country.
In his welcome address, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi noted that the Committee arose from a lot of brainstorming on the part of government, adding with inauguration, the State was setting a standard in conflict resolution in the Country.
He said it was imperative for members of the Committee to understand the magnitude of their responsibilities and come up with solutions that would engender peaceful co-existence.
In their goodwill messages, the Southwest Coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN Alhaji Kabir Muhammed lauded the State Government for setting up the Committee, and the representative of Fulani Youth in the State, Abumumuni Ibrahim, pledged the cooperation of his group towards finding lasting solutions to the clashes.
The Onimeko of Imeko, Oba Benjamin Olanite stressed the need for proper demarcation for all concerned to know their limit, while the member representing Yewa North in the Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Haruna Abiodun noted that peace would return to the axis when either group operates within its bounds.
Speaking on behalf of other members of the Committee, a member of Ogun State House of Assembly from Imeko Constituency, Hon. Jemili Akingbade, thanked the Governor for his timely intervention in settling the dispute. He assured that the Committee will live up to its expectations by diligently carrying out its terms of reference.
Other members of the Committee are: Hon. Abiodun Egungbohun, Commissioner of Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Jamiu Omoniyi, Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-Ethnic Affairs, Sani Hadi, Chairman, Imeko -Afon, Hon. Babatunde Davis, State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Segun Dasaolu and Onimeko of Imeko, Oba Benjamin Olanite.
Other are: the Eselu of Iselu, Oba Ebenezer Akinyemi, Baale of Igbooro, Chief Bidemi Akorede, a Community leader, Chief Egungbohun Deinde, Southwest Coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Kabir Muhammed and Alhaji Bashir Eggua.