The Yoruba Initiative, TYI, a socio-cultural and non-political group in the South West has called on State Governors in the region to urgently come up with measures that will bring an end to the incessant destruction of farmlands by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
This was made known in a statement signed by the groups’ media committee chairman, Folu Olamiti.
The group described the unceasing encroachment of farmlands by herdsmen as a threat to food security and the economy of the country.
Olamiti noted that the outcry over the activities of herdsmen has been reechoed not only by farmers in South West, but also by those in Delta State and other South Eastern States, and most recently from the Catholic Bishops Conference Of Nigeria, CBCN, during their meeting in Abuja.
The statement called on South West governors “to take the problem as a challenge by collaborating with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, to immediately develop an action plan aimed towards preventing further encroachment of farm lands .”
Also the TYI wants the federal government “to urgently intervene by looking into the problems and dangers posed by the cows rampaging farmlands in the south-west and other parts of the federation.”
It added that “the problem if not curbed has the potency to cause commotions and disaffections among ethnic groups in the country.”
Olamiti stated that the grazing of cattle on farmlands in specific areas of the south-west by the herders had been discouraging the business of farming in the region, as farmers continued to count their losses each time cows destroyed crops on their farms.
He also pointed out that the efforts by the Federal Government to diversify the economy with farming as a major anchor are already being defeated through the activities of herdsmen and their cows.
“If it continues, it will worsen poverty and food scarcity not only in the south-west, but also across the federation in the foreseeable future,” the TYI spokesman stated.
The group advised the federal government not to concentrate attention on the northern part of the country alone on agricultural development, but to spread such opportunities evenly across the geo-political zones of the federation if Nigeria must truly “emerge as a giant in agriculture, while earning foreign exchange to grow its economy.”
The statement further added that “the people of south-west have long been noted to be highly accommodating.”
“They have been living peacefully with Fulani and other ethnic groups for ages until now that cows, for no just reason, are being moved with impunity into farmlands, while herders show no slight concern to farm owners.
“We like to stress here that the impunity noted of the herders in destroying farmlands may have political undertone for now, but such will never serve even their interest in the long run in the event that Nigeria gets destabilised in line with plans by forces that may be remote-controlling the herders.”
The TYI also called on farmers in all parts of the south-west to be more security conscious and law abiding and to report any breach of security around their farms to the government of their respective states.