From Jimoh Joseph, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has warned the Tivs and the Fulani herdsmen in the state not to engage themselves in his State.
A Fulani herdsmen, Babuga Dengi, was on last week Monday killed in a bush between Irele and Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government.
The governor said recent steps by his government are to prevent violence between farmers and herders and not to give anybody license to unlawfully take human life.
Fayose spoke during a meeting with Fulani herdsmen under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), farmers, local hunters, security agencies and representatives of the Tiv community in the state.
There has been palpable tension between the herdsmen and farmers from Benue state, predominantly Tivs, in Ekiti over allegation of farm destruction and killing.
Fayose, who warned Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers against turning Ekiti to a war zone ordered security agents to also quickly fish out the killer of the cattle rearer.
He said, “I can’t accept anybody to be killed. If anybody killed anyone I will make sure you are killed by ensuring justice. I’m sad about the killing in Benue but we don’t want brutality in Ekiti.
“I won’t accept any killing here, the only thing acceptable here is peace. I therefore plead with everybody to cooperate with us.”
“I want peace in my state and everybody living here is from Ekiti whether you are Fulani, Tiv, Yoruba or anybody. Cow matter can’t cause problem between us. Oke Ako-Irele issue should not be allowed to fester. Cooperate with us and whoever kills would be fished out.
“When you are entering Ekiti, drop wherever you are coming from at the boundary. You can’t kill Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo or Tiv here. From information so far, the deceased died as a result of clash between Fulani herders and some Tiv people, but at that we can’t condone lawlessness. We don’t want that type of Benue issue here.”
A communique read by Fayose at the end of the meeting summoned leaders of the herdsmen, farmers, hunters, council chairmen and traditional rulers from Oke Ako and Irele to an expanded meeting.
The meeting while noting that the problem in Oke Ako was between Tivs and Fulani, resolved that the people must live in peace.
The meeting also ordered security agencies to fish out the killers of the herdsman in the area.
It also agreed that Committee on herdsmen should be expanded to include Fulani herders while urging the committee to be more proactive and report immediately to security committee when they see strangers in their communities.
“We ask security agencies to do more in intelligence gathering, information and prevention, while we thank them for what they have done so far,” the communique added.