The Oyo State Government says it plans to establish cattle ranches for herdsmen to stem the increasing waves of clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Mudashiru Abdulganiyu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan at a workshop on Conflict Prevention and Peaceful Coexistence for Traditional Rulers.
Abdulganiyu explained that all stakeholders were being carried along in the plan as violent conflicts between herdsmen and farmers were not healthy for peaceful coexistence in the state.
“The state government is considering the issue of ranches so that the herdsmen will not just be going out uncontrolled and destroying people’s farms.
“Establishing ranches is part of the agreed policy that the government is trying to bring up so that it will minimise the conflict between the herdsmen and the farmers.
“Government has some agencies that are looking into the issue of ranches, which normally mediate in conflicts between the herdsmen and the farmers alongside traditional rulers of the various areas.”
The commissioner also said that the menace of violent conflicts in the state has been partly curbed since Gov. Abiola Ajimobi became governor.
“When Gov. Abiola Ajimobi came in as the governor in 2011, there were lots of problems in Oyo state, particularly in Ibadan, especially with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
“The NURTW members were always causing crises and killing innocent people.
“When Ajimobi came, he said the menace will not be allowed to go on and that it has to stop,” he said.
Abdulganiyu said that the governor exercised the political will to stop acts of lawlessness in the state and empowered the security agencies to do their work.
“He (Ajimobi) called in the security agencies, which rounded up all the troublemakers.
“In fact, just about two months ago, one of them was jailed for six years after a long time of trial.
“Since then, a new election was held and there has been peace all over the state because they know that the governor will not tolerate any brigandage in the state.”
The commissioner commended the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for organising a workshop on Conflict Prevention, Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence.
“I believe it is a very good move and impressive that I saw all the traditional rulers who are present because they are key stakeholders in the society.
“When anything happens in any community, the first person that the people will contact is the traditional ruler.
“Traditional rulers are the ones who contact state and local government authorities; they are very important stakeholders in the resolution of conflicts and peace-building in the society,” he said.