Orin-Ekiti/ herdsmen clash: Stakeholders sue for peace among parties
Orin-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State has been in the news in the last few months for the wrong reasons. The security challenges in the country manifested in the town where lives were lost and an unquantifiable amont of farm produce was destroyed by suspected herdsmen.
Knowing full well its major responsibility to provide security of lives and property of residents, the Dr Kayode Fayemi administration organised a peace meeting towards finding a lasting solution. The leadership of the herdsmen in the local government under the umbrella body of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and the community were invited to the peace parley.
The meeting was attended by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Folusho Daramola; his information counterpart, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua; the Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Brig. Gen. Ebenezer Ogundana (rtd) and other top government officials.
At the meeting, the people of the community called on the state government to prevail on the herdsmen to vacate the community’s land in the interest of peace.
Conveying the town’s resolution to the government at the parley held inside the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, Mr Kayode Omotosho insisted that Fulani herders were responsible for killings, hoisting of flags and destruction of multi-million naira farm produce in the town.
Also, one of the community leaders, Gabriel Adebowale who lamented the spate of attacks said, “Is it not surprising that just few people are terrorising us to the extent that we can no longer sleep at night? Our demand in this meeting is just simple: we can no longer live with these people in our land; they should relocate elsewhere.”
Speaking at the forum, the leader of the Fulani herders in Ido/Osi council area, Alhaji Adamu Abashe, denied that his members were behind attacks and hoisting of flags in the community in December last year with a move to annex a portion of land belonging to the town for cattle rearing.
Abashe said: “We didn›t know how the flags got there. We were not responsible. We have lived in Orin Ekiti for over 30 years. We have been living together peacefully. When I was kidnapped, I did not say Orin people were responsible, because we are brothers. It was after my kidnap that the kidnappers came to kill a Tiv woman in that farmstead.
“When they kidnapped my labourer, I paid N300,000 as ransom and I didn›t say Orin people were behind it. I was not happy with the killings and destruction in Orin. So, we are not planning evil.
“I am surprised that the people are now accusing me. I am begging the people to forgive me and I believe it is just a misunderstanding between us and they should not allow the enemy to come between us. Let’s join hands together towards ending this impasse.”
Responding, the Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Ogundana advised the feuding parties to tolerate each other in the interest of peace in the state. He said the forum was put together for the parties to express their grievances in a bid to averting violence that would further lead to more loss of lives and property in the community.
“The essence of this discussion is how we can live together peacefully. We also want to fashion out how all the herders coming into Ekiti are identified and accepted. We have lived together for so many years and we will continue to live together as a family.
“If anybody commits a crime, we should be able to identify such. Some persons have been killing, destroying farms and hoisting flags at Orin Ekiti and they wrote “keep off” on them. We want to investigate who are behind these. Government won’t fold its arms and allow these to continue,” he said.
He craved for peace and said that the state government under the leadership of Dr Fayemi was concerned about the development, He added that workable solutions would soon be provided towards ending the attacks.