By Bola Owolola
The Ogun State Police Command has said that it believes in peace and security of individuals living in the State. The State’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Manama, dropped this hint in an interview with The State newspapers.
Makama admitted that there had been past incidents of herdsmen-farmers clash in Ogun State. He said the incidents were few and far between, adding that, none was serious enough to have placed the state under siege as they were expeditiously and amicably resolved.
According to him, regular stakeholders’ meetings involving security agencies, traditional rulers, representatives of State and Local Governments, community leaders, herdsmen and farmers across the State are being periodically held to identify the challenges posed by herdsmen and their cattle to farmlands.
He disclosed further that there are also existing committees comprising representatives of the stakeholders that monitor the activities of herdsmen and farmers and enforce mutually agreed sanctions against acts capable of breaching existing understanding and public peace.
He told our Correspondent that he Command’s efforts in mitigating herdsmen – famers crisis in the State have proved so rewarding that for a very long time, the State has not recorded any clash between herdsmen and farmers.
In his words: “Unfortunately, on 1st May 2019, unknown herdsmen were accused by the natives at Iwoye Ketu, a border town in Imeko Afon local government area of the State, of polluting the only drinking stream in the community with their cows. An attempt by the natives to stop the herdsmen from further polluting the stream resulted in a fight in which casualties were recorded on both sides.”
Makama said that on receiving the information, the Command swiftly moved to the scene and brought the situation under control. Six herdsmen who were suspected to have direct involvement in the fracas were arrested and have since been arraigned.
The police officer said that normalcy has since been restored to the community and everybody is going about his or her legitimate business without hindrance or any form of molestation.
In several peace-meetings held after the incident, the Fulani community, the host community, farmers and herdsmen have resolved to continue to live together peacefully and also to keep records and monitor influx of strangers from other neighboring countries.
The Commissioner of Police reassured the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, and indeed the entire citizens of Ogun State that the police would continue to monitor the activities of herdsmen in Ogun State to encourage lawful conduct of their legitimate activities and peaceful co-existence with host communities and farmers. “In doing so, lawlessness and impunity will not be tolerated, and the Command will be courageous in taking decisions that will measure up to justice, equity and good conscience. Ogun State under the watch of police command will never come under the siege of herdsmen or any other groups with such sinister intentions,” he said.