The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has appealed to Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, to relax the ban on herdsmen and their grazing cattle.
Baba Ngelzerma, the secretary general of the association, said this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television.
Ngelzerma asked the governor to show statesmanship, blaming most of the attacks on “criminals”.
He announced the readiness of the group to negotiate with Ekiti government.
“Our doors are open, we can still go to the governor, we can still discuss and find solutions to these problems,” he said.
“We had a meeting with our elites from different fields of human endeavours to find solutions to these problems. We are calling on the governor of Ekiti state to show a lot of statesmanship.
“These things are perpetrated by criminals. No doubt what happened is sad but before investigations are conducted, people jump to conclusions that things were done by herdsmen; it may be so, but at least as a governor he should wait and find out who the perpetrators are before apportioning blame.
“The whole of Ekiti state is his responsibility today including strangers that are in the state. Even the cows that are in Ekiti state today, the governor has a responsibility on them.
“You cannot blame an entire group for a crime committed by few. There was a situation in Ore where a watchman killed a herdsman, we did not take law into our hands, instead we reported to the police.
“We cannot say that the Yoruba people are responsible for that. If you stop the Fulanis from grazing, where should they go?”.
Stating actions that have been taken, Ngelzerma expressed the readiness of the association to put an end to the situation.
He said the association had been collaborating with security agencies to find a last solution to the problem.
“A lot have been going on regarding this issue and different factions of the government have been looking into it. We have been having meetings with the defence headquarters and the police, hands are on deck to resolve the issue.”
Meanwhile, Fayose has said he has nothing against the Fulani, explaining that he only decided to act in order to “check to the excesses of herdsmen”.
He said his decision to ban grazing was not political, but a standard practice which obtained in developed countries.
“The issue of incessant attacks on communities across the country by the herdsmen is a time bomb and it should not be allowed to get out of hand. The earlier will stop the menace the better for us as a nation,” he said at the funeral ceremony of Viola George, mother of Bode George, top chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“This has nothing to do with politics or where one comes from in the country. Who knows who the next victim could be? The attack is spreading across the country and I call on other state governors as well as political, religious and community leaders across the country to see the issue as a national one that we all must address.
“Like I have said earlier, the solution is that those rearing cows should have ranches to keep them. In advanced nations, they engage in animal husbandry too and they don’t allow their animals to just roam about.