The Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, has disclosed that Ekiti residents can report him to higher police authorities if he was seen not be handling cases involving herdsmen infringements on rights of the locals properly.
The Police Chief said this during a stakeholders’ meeting in Ado Ekiti held at the instance of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to find a lasting solution to farmers-herders clashes.
The CP gave assurance that no efforts will be spared to halt herders trespass on farmlands as well as ethnic clash in the state.
He explained that the Presidential order banning unauthorised people carrying AK-47 shall be pursued to the letter.
“Don’t also forget that underage cattle rearing and night grazing have been banned. If there is any case against Fulani that I am not handling well, you can write a petition against me to the police Zonal office in Akure. I won’t protect any criminal”
Mobayo stated that the police in Ekiti are resolute to restore peace between the warring farmers and herdsmen in Ekiti, using the instrumentality of the laws and arbitrate when necessary to halt ethnic tension in the the state
“We are ready to implement every presidential order against those carrying illegal arms. If you carry unlicensed arms in Ekiti State, we are going to deal with you ruthlessly.
“To those carrying AK-47 without a licence, it is like carrying death certificate and hang on it on your head, so carrying of AK-47 by non-state actors is not permitted in Ekiti”.
Mobayo, who described as erroneous, the impression that the Police were protecting the Fulani herders, said his men have been handling all issues that are connected to the two feuding groups in Ekiti.
“We know that Fulani herdsmen most of the time go out of their ways to destroy people’s farms, but we have always been rising up to handle such cases without taking sides. We were being careful because the locals as well used to perpetrate some of these evils under the cover of herdsmen .” CP said
All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Ekiti chapter, agreed that the establishment of ranches will help in resolving the lingering crises between the two groups.
The AFAN Chairman in Ekiti, Mr. Adebola Alagbada, said establishment of ranches remains the best panacea to farmers-herders’ clashes.
“Cattle ranchers by government and individuals will help in resolving all these crises. If Chief Obafemi Awolowo could establish ranches across the South-West in 1958, why can’t we do the same in this millennium?”
Similarly, the Head of Fulani in Ekiti State, Alhaji Adamu Abache, called for registration of all members for easy identification.
“It is true that farms were being destroyed, but if we had registered with the local governments, we would have been able to identify these itinerant Fulani killer herders would have been known.
“We are not against the arrest of criminals, but anytime they want to arrest, the police and other security agencies must ensure that the criminals are arrested not innocent Fulani herders.”
The Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adewole, lamented that; “People had been killed in Orin and Isaba Ekiti and nobody had been prosecuted. Some Fulani people are claiming that Nigerian lands belong to them and that they must get it by force. The government must arrest those making such incendiary comments?”