By Akanimo Sampson
OWNERS of strayed cattles in Osun State, Western Nigeria, will from now on dance to the beat of Awilo that will not be too comfortable for them. The state is making efforts to tame the menace of herdsmen terrorism. Special Duties Commissioner Mudashiru Toogun says the government will soon commence enumeration of cattles with the aim of identifying strayed cows and their owners for necessary actions.
Toogun, who doubled as the Chairman of Committee on Peaceful Co-existence between Fulani /Bororo and Farmers in Osun disclosed this during a media chat with journalists in Osogbo, the state capital. An official in Abuja who made this known to this reporter on Friday said the commissioner explained that the process of enumeration will be done by tagging cows with distinct number that suggests traceable owners. This, the Abuja source said, is in furtherance of an adopted conflict resolution mechanism in the state to ensure farmers / herders’ peaceful co-existence.
Toogun noted that the state government under Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been able to maintain relative peace amongst farmers and herdsmen with conscious integration of the Fulani settlers into the society by making provision for necessary and basic needs of the herders. “In the course of looking for ways in which the relative peace would be enjoyed between farmers and herdsmen could be sustained, we discovered important needs of the herders, and we were able to address them.
“The government had sunk over 13 boreholes in various Fulani communities and befitting schools for their children for qualitative education.In addition to that, we are embarking on enumeration of cattles in the state for the purpose of linking strayed cows with their owners, to enable us make amicable settlement on issues of invasion of farms”, he said.
The commissioner however said that there was no plan to enact anti-grazing law in the state, adding that the adopted traditional way of settling disputes between farmers and herdsmen have been effective and potent, adding that such law could be counter-productive with the present atmosphere across the state.
On state police, he said it remains a lasting solution to the menace of incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country. “ In a situation where arrested herdsmen were set free by the police, citing ‘orders’ from the above for such an action is dangerous and capable of frustrating any move to sustain peaceful co-existence. “I believe Nigeria needs police institution that understands its terrain of operation better and in accordance with the norms of its environment. For me, state police is the way to go if we are really serious about resolving this National challenge before it gets out of control”.