By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The Olu of Ilaro and Paramount of Yewaland in Ogun State, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, on Friday called on the Police authorities to create an “anti-herdsmen menace squad” to tackle the menace of the herdsmen in the country.
The Monarch spoke when the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, paid him a courtesy visit in Ilaro, Yewa South Local Government Area of the state.
Oba Olugbenle who id also the Chairman, Ogun Council of Obas, received Iliyasu, in company with other traditional rulers in Yewaland which include Olu of Imasai, Oba Gbadebo Oni, Olobi of Ilobi, Oba Saliu Ajibade, Eselu of Iselu, Oba Akinyemi Akintunde, Alagbara of Agbara, Oba Jaiyeola Agunbiade and the Olu of Igbogila, Oba Olatunji Olanloye.
The paramount ruler said Yewaland had continued to experience attacks from the herdsmen who had destroyed farmlands and crops with their herd of cow, and at times killed farmers in the process.
Oba Olugbenle who described his subjects as peace-loving people noted that the menace of the herdsmen deserved to be taken seriously, as many of the farmers incurred losses when their farmlands were ravaged and crops destroyed.
He said since police have the anti-robbery and anti-kidnapping squad among others, the herdsmen’s menace must also bé adequately tackled by having a special squad in charge.
He said, “The menace of the herdsmen needs to be addressed. It is a big challenge. Farmers in Yewaland have continued to be experience attacks from the herdsmen.
“The herdsmen are always around during the dry season. Some of them would invade the farms with their herd of cow and watch them ravaged and fed on crops. Some farmers have been killed in the process.
“I want to call on police authorities to set up the anti-herdsmen menace squad, as they have done with the anti-robbery squad and anti-kidnapping squad among others.”
Oba Olugbenle who commended the commissioner of police for his display of professionalism in fighting crime and criminality in the state, noted that he would only support the establishing of ranching for willing herdsmen if the owners of such lands would be adequately compensated.
The monarch also frowned at the menace of land grabbers creeping into Yewaland, arguing that it was uncharitable for policemen to come all the way from Abuja for operation on land matters, without the knowledge of the state commissioner of police or that of the area commanders and the divisional police officers.
Some of the royal fathers had asked for more police presence in their domains by establishing more police posts, to tackle emerging security challenges due to urbanisation and development.
Responding Iliyasu said the menace of the herdsmen was a national issue and the government was working assiduously to tackle it.
He disclosed that he had canvassed the resuscitation of the state security committee on the menace of herdsmen, which used to be in place but had been moribund.
Iliyasu commended the synergy between the royal fathers in Yewaland and the police commands in the zone, which he said had led greatly to the reduction of crime in the area.
He said, “Yewaland has the lowest crime rate in the state. This is due to the synergy between the royal fathers, the police and the people in the communities.”
Iliyasu later held a stakeholders’ meeting with the stakeholders from the Fulani and Hausa communities, representatives of vigilance groups, transport unions among others, at the Area Command headquarters, Ilaro.
Speaking at the meeting, Seriki Fulani Abeokuta and the South West Coordinator, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Mohammed Labar, said the cattle rearers, valued peace and they would like to live in peace with their host communities and the residents.
Iliyasu and his team, also visited Dangote Cement factory at Ibese in Yewa North Local Government, where they were received by the General Manager, Human Asset Management/Administration, Abdulmalik Shehu and other members of management.