…seeks partnership on security and developments.
By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
Following surging movements of Fulani herdsmen from the south western states into Kwara, the governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has met with them to fashion good inter-relationships with their hosts.
The growing unfriendly atmosphere coupled with the separatist agitations in the southern parts of the country in recent time is believed to be responsible for the herders’ movement to the north, Kwara State in particular.
The Fulani herders had allegedly in the circumstance been arriving to settle down in large numbers in the communities where they were least welcomed, in the southern senatorial district of the state.
At the meeting with the Fulani leaders and representatives who were drawn from the sixteen Local Government Areas of the state, Governor AbdulRazaq told them of the need to meet with them and other stakeholders in the state to prevent crimes and guarantee security for all.
He was particular about the movement into the State disclosing that the meeting was to forge a consensus on how to manage herders-farmers’ relationship amid ultimatums on cattle grazing in some southern states and mass movement of herders to the north, especially Kwara.
“The meeting is for security and peaceful coexistence especially in the light of what is happening around us. So there was the need to also engage the Fulani in Kwara on how to manage such movement,” he emphasized.
He, however, promised that “Fulani in Kwara, like other communities in the state, will receive government’s protection and patronage in terms of infrastructure projects and social security programmes.”
He pointed out that there are security implications from such movements from one section of the country to the other pointing out that what the government is doing, including the ‘National Livestock Transformation Programme’ and the Special Agriculture Processing Zone was basically to engage the Fulani community for better understanding.
These understanding he said, included programmes like nomadic education, healthcare delivery, water projects and empowerment that were lined up for them.
He explained that the second phase of the National Livestock Transformation Programme would soon take off and Kwara was expectantly a part of the beneficiary states.
“So far, the first phase (the National Livestock Transformation Programme) has taken off and was done last in Nasarawa state. We are still waiting for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to let us know when the second phase will commence. Kwara is expected to do the second phase of the project. We have done the enumeration to be part of the project,” the Governor said.
He told the meeting that the last engagement the state government had with Oyo State Government on security had been yielding positive results and that he was hoping to do same with other boundary states like Ekiti.
Speaking at the occasion, Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Tuesday Assayomo, said the essence of the town hall meeting was to seek the cooperation of the Fulani community in Kwara because according to him, both the government and security agencies were intensifying efforts to beef up security in the state.
He commended the Governor for initiating the meeting as well as the governor’s support for the security agencies in the state.
“We are here to talk about how to continue to live in peace. We have a duty to protect lives and properties,” he said.
“Those of you in the capital city must have been seeing the policemen patrolling in the night. If they stop you, I want you to please stop. If they search your vehicle and there is nothing incriminating they will allow you to go. If you suspect anyone in your area, kindly report it to the police. We need your support,” he concluded.