By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The Commissioner of police in Ogun State, CP Bashir Makama has reassured the entire citizens of the state that the police will continue to monitor the activities of herdsmen resident in the state to encourage lawful conduct of their legitimate activities and peaceful co-existence with host communities and farmers.
The Commissioner of police however said that while carrying out this constitutional duty, lawlessness and impunity will not be tolerated, while the Command will be courageous in taking decisions that will measure up to justice, equity and good conscience promising never to allow the state under the watch of police come under the siege of herdsmen or any other groups with sinister intentions.
Makama in a statement signed by the police spokesman in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi gave this assurance while reacting to a report credited to Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) where in the group had alleged that police were conniving with herdsmen to put Southwest under siege.
The CP said while not joining issues with the highly respected YCE, the state police command being an integral part of the South-West in setting the record straight on the lingering herdsmen-farmers clashes across the country as it relates to Ogun State had been doing its best to curtail menace of this security challenge.
The Command admitted though, there had been past incidents of herdsmen-farmers clash in the state but the incidents were few and far between.
The police disclosed that even when there were clashes among farmers and herdsmen, none was serious enough to have placed the state under siege as they were expeditiously and amicably resolved.
The police boss said this was made possible due to proactive steps taken such as regular stakeholders’ meetings involving security agencies, traditional rulers, representatives of State and Local Governments, community leaders, herdsmen and farmers across the State periodically to identify the challenges posed by herdsmen and their cattle to farmlands.
There were also committees comprising representatives of the stakeholders set up to monitor the activities of herdsmen and farmers and enforce mutually agreed sanctions against acts capable of breaching existing understanding and public peace.
The police disclosed that its 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.
It explained further that though, unfortunately, unknown herdsmen were recently 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.
The police said 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 and that on receiving the information, the Command as usual, swiftly moved into 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 while normalcy had since been restored to the community.
The police added that several peace meetings were held after the incident with the Fulani community, the host community, farmers and herdsmen resolving to continue to live together peacefully and also to keep records and monitor influx of strangers from other neighboring countries.