Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State, on Friday, reconstituted the state’s Farmers/Herders Peace Committee in his bid to create a conducive environment for sustainable agricultural activities,
The move is part of efforts of the state government to mitigate clashes between farmers and herders and ensure greater productivity in crop and livestock agriculture.
During the inauguration of the committee at the Governor’s Office in Ado Ekiti, Oyebanji said the initiative would lead to the transformation of the agricultural sector and boost food security in the state.
He recalled that the committee was first constituted during the last administration, adding that Ekiti is the first to put in place an effective conflict resolution mechanism in the entire southwest geo-political zone.
He added that the state government, in its drive to boost the economy and create employment opportunities for the people, has attracted private investors to develop the agricultural sub-sector, hence, the need to reconstitute the committee to pave the way for a conducive business environment and reposition it for a more defined direction.
He commended members of the dissolved committee for ensuring relative peace and tranquillity among farmers and herders in the state, noting that Ekiti State has provided leadership direction on the issue of farmers/herders conflict.
Governor Oyebanji, however, said there were still reports of farm destruction, farmland degradation, water pollution, farm grazing and physical attacks on the farms, among others which invariably were not only potential causes of violent crisis but a threat to peace and food security in the state.
“We also had to deal with kidnappings, many of which herders were suspected or indeed arrested as culprits. This trend has to be reversed so as not to create an atmosphere of chaos, vengeance, retribution and lawlessness; hence, the need to reconstitute this committee in order to reposition it for a more defined direction in response to the urgent reality of today.
“For fairness and equity, all interested stakeholders are included in the committee, including cattle breeders, herdsmen, farmers, security outfits, drivers’ unions, market women, traditional rulers, youths and others.
“It is our responsibility to sustain the confidence of our Agricultural business owners and other stakeholders that their investments are secured in Ekiti.
“Let me assure all the citizens that the committee, which is headed by the special Adviser on Security Matters, Retired Brigadier General Ebenezer Ogundana and other eminent personalities, will be just and proactive in their conflict resolution assignments,” he said.
He assured that Amotekun and the anti-grazing corps in the state would be further strengthened to work with other security outfits for collaboration and effectiveness, especially in the rural areas.
All relevant stakeholders, including cattle breeders, herdsmen, farmers, security outfits, drivers unions, market women, traditional rulers, and youths, are duly represented in the committee to ensure fairness and equity.