Southwest Governors Meet, Agree to Ban Open and Night Grazing

In a meeting on Monday between the Governors and Leaders in Southwestern Nigeria and the national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, both parties agreed to the immediate effect stop open grazing, night grazing and under-age grazing in a bid to forestall incessant crisis between the herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest region and in the country at large.

In a meeting on Monday between the Governors and Leaders in Southwestern Nigeria and the national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, both parties agreed to the immediate effect stop open grazing, night grazing and under-age grazing in a bid to forestall incessant crisis between the herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest region and in the country at large.

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The meeting which was held to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping, and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest region was held at the International Culture and Event Center in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

OmoLamuruduMedia gathered that present at the meeting were the Governors of Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde, Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state.

Also the governor of Jigawa state, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, and the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu were present at the meeting but the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun were absent at the meeting.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Southwest Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, who debunked a statement credited to him that he ordered Fulanis to leave Ondo state, explained that based on a security report he received that bandits are using the state forest reserves as hideouts to carry out coordinator attacks, he directed that all illegal occupants of the forest reserves should vacate the area in a bid to further curb crime and criminality in his state and not to witch-hunt the Fulanis.

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In his address, the National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, whose speech was delivered by the MACBAN National Secretary, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, directed the herders in the Southwest region and in Nigeria at large to with immediate effect stop open grazing, night grazing and under-age grazing in a bid to forestall incessant crisis between the herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest region and in the country at large.

Also speaking, the Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who promised at the meeting that his administration will not in the course of fighting criminality, commit another crime, assured all residents of Oyo state of adequate security of lives and property.

While reading out the resolution of the meeting, the chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, stressed that no governor in the southwest region will order Fulanis to vacate their state, rather, the news circulated in the regard was misinterpreted.

He, however, noted that there must be a framework for the operation of MACBAN in the Southwest region, and ranches must be mandated for the herders so that cattle will no longer roam about and disrupt other persons’ livelihood.

Other dignitaries present at the meeting include various security chiefs in the Southwest region led by the AIG Zone 11, Olufemi Agunbiade, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore; MACBAN state and national excos, among others.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.