Following violent attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Ondo State, Governor Olusegun Mimiko has warned that Nigeria may be heading for the rocks if the incessant killings are not checked.
Mr. Mimiko said the issue of Fulani herdsmen rampage had become a monster that is threatening the security and unity of the country.
He gave the warning in Akure on Monday during a peace meeting with members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).
According Mr. Mimiko, the situation demands a national emergency, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders to put heads together to save the nation from imminent catastrophe.
“There is no question about the fact that this is becoming a monster of sort. I have had cause to express my view on this on many occasion and I think we all ignore this menace as a nation,” he said.
“I can see us moving towards a precipice and we must do something about it as early as possible, it is getting dangerous, the audacity is very disturbing.”
He condemned the recent attack on the farm of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae, and the killing of one the guards, Ayodele Ige.
The governor described the development as unfortunate and barbaric.
He appealed to the OPC members not to take laws into their hands, just as he commended all the security operatives in the state for rising to the situation, adding that the police had been supportive, having successfully traced those behind the killing of the guard.
Mr. Mimiko further warned that if his advice was not heeded, it may reach a stage where people would resort to self-help.
“I say it again, we are moving towards the precipice and the earlier we pull back, and it requires all the stakeholders from the president and this is a bi-partisan issue, all major stakeholders must come together on how to resolve this issue,” he said.
“These herdsmen must be called to order, these wanton destructions, audacious incursions in other people’s territory cannot continue for too long.”
The governor noted that the activities of the Fulani herdsmen would not only pose a threat to national security but a great challenge to food security especially when people are calling for the diversification of the economy while agriculture remains the main focus.
“It is very ironical, we have been talking about diversification and agriculture is the main focus but in this state there is hardly any medium scale or large scale farmers that has not had any encounter or the other with the herdsmen,” he said.
“They just go to the farm and devastate the farms, some of them have been turned to perpetual debtors because some of the input for the farms are from bank loans , the herdsmen will just get there and destroy these farmlands and we are talking of diversification.
“But I think if we don’t do anything about the activities of these herdsmen, I can see a threat to the security of this country so it is a major challenge and I think the President and all major stakeholders should take this as a very serious challenge.”
Mr. Mimiko faulted the proposed Fulani grazing reserves bill by the National Assembly saying the law would further aggravate the crisis between the land owners, farmers and the Fulani herdsmen.