South West governors and prominent traditional rulers in the region on Saturday held a meeting at the Government House, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to proffer solutions to the lingering security problems in the region.
Participants at the meeting unanimously agreed that open grazing had become archaic and unsustainable and must therefore be stopped. They also called on the Federal Government to improve border security and check the influx of foreign herdsmen, who many have blamed for armed robberies, killings, kidnappings and rape, among other criminal activities in the region
Addressing journalists at the end of Saturday’s meeting, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said the South West leaders maintained that all states in the region should manage their forest reserves.
“We believe that all the states should be in position to manage their forest and that will give the respective state governments to power to determine who are in the forest and for what purpose.
“And where we have people that are illegally in the forest the state should be able to take some steps so that we can preserve the forest.
“So all of us, including the traditional rulers, supported the decision on forest management.”
Akeredolu said they observed that the South-West states’ borders had become too porous, hence the need to do something urgently “to prevent foreign herdsmen coming into the country without any form of caution.”
He said: “We noted that a number of these foreign herders with their herds and cows are already in the country and what they do is something of concern to all of us and we believe our borders need to be tied.
“We need to tighten our borders so that all these foreigners, maybe from Niger or bordering states, coming with their herds and destroying farms are curbed.”
According to Akeredolu, the meeting also discussed the need for government to support cattle breeding just as “we have been supporting other areas of farming.”
“One of the areas we can support cattle breeding is to change the way and means cattle breeders are adopting now.
“This can be done by finding a designated area where cattle can graze, no need of trekking far with cattle but this issue of open grazing in this modern time must be looked at,” the Ondo governor stated.
He, therefore, called on the states and the federal government to look into areas of support for the cattle breeders.
The governor also appealed to the media on the need to assist the country in curbing the issue of fake news.
Governors in attendance were Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola; Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; and Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun.
Some of the traditional rulers who took part in the meeting include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunnjso 1; and Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao.
The meeting equally had in attendance the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of South West, David Folawiyo, Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security organisations in the state.