Edo State Government has warned Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in the state to maintain the peace or face the wrath of the law as the government will not ban grazing or farming which have both served as viable economic activity to the state.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting to find lasting solution to the lingering crisis between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said if not properly managed, the crisis can escalate beyond what can be managed quietly.
He said the government will not hesitate to punish rapists, kidnappers or rustlers and urged all Fulani herdsmen to be of good behaviour and do business in accordance with the law. He added that there will be a committee in all the 18 local government areas each whose membership will be drawn from the traditional rulers, farmers, community leaders, youth leaders, and then the representatives of the resident Fulani herdsmen, and representatives of Fulani herdsmen in nearby states that might be migrating through the state.
“Edo State Government will prosecute any rapist, kidnapper, and any rustler who takes people’s cows. I think listening to all the stakeholders, whether royal fathers, farmers, Fulani herdsmen, everybody agreed that neither rape, robbery, destruction of farms, rustling of cattle is acceptable. And I think we are all committed to ensuring that we put an end to any of these practices so that all of us can continue to live together in peace, harmony and in security.
“It is clear to me that Nigeria can only explore ways and means of living together; not ways of how not to live together and create small islands. It’s not going to happen. And even if we isolate the Fulani herdsmen challenge, we still have other pockets of boundary issues in various communities even within the Benin Kingdom, Esan land and Afemai.