Fulani herders in Ekiti and South West have taken a traditional oath binding on them to assure the host communities in Ekiti, and by extension, the South West Nigeria, that they would no longer behave unruly, kill or allow their cows to stray into farms.
The traditional oath, revealed to be an effective cultural sanction on herders as its violation is believed to bring tragedy on the culprit, was administered by Ardo Mairero, the Sarkin Fulani of Kwara State.
Those in attendance during the peace meeting of all parties involved in herdsmen challenge in the state include Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, Mohammad Leewa, National President, Miyetti Allah , Mohammad Kiruwa, Governor Ayodele Fayose, Ekiti Deputy Governor, Olusola Kolapo, Secretary to State Government, (SSG), Modupe Alade, Chief of Staff, Dipo Anisulowo, Agriculture Commissioner, Kehinde Odebunmi and Miyetti Allah national and zonal leaders.
Mr Adeslusi said:” of most significance of the peace meeting of February 19 by the stakeholders was the traditional oath taken with kolanuts as an agreement that the herdsmen in Ekiti will not behave unruly any longer, kill or allow their cows to stray into farms.
“It was administered with kola and sharing of the kola, which is a Fulani tradition that is binding on the initiators.
“With this oath, issues of robbery, killing, damaging of farms and kidnapping among others being allegedly perpetrated by Fulani herders are over in the state. The meeting and signing of the memorandum by all parties lasted for two hours between 11:00 p.m. on Monday 19 to 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 20,” he said.
The communique, released to newsmen yesterday in Ado Ekiti, State capital, reads in part: ” A truce meeting, initiated by the Emir of Kano and the Governor of Ekiti State over pastoralists menace was held on Monday, February 19, the Governor, His Excellency, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, deputy Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, former Governor of Kano State representing the Emir of Kano HRH Muhammed Sanusi II, Traditional rulers in Ekiti State, President and leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association ( both National and South west). Members of Ekiti State Executive Council, Members, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Security Chiefs and all key stakeholders in Ekiti State.
“The representatives of Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, conveyed the concern of the Emir over the broken down relationship between herdsmen and host communities that has led to the loss of lives in Ekiti State and other parts of the country. The Emir commiserated with the families of those whose lives have been cut short due to the attacks, and reprisals of herders and associated consequences. ”
It went further to say: “Similarly, the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and patrons condemned in strong terms any form of killing that has taken place.
“The Emir, through his representatives, stated and it was unanimously agreed that henceforth; all herders must obey the anti-grazing and relevant laws of the land.”
The communique further gave the following resolutions: “.That herdsmen must stop attacks on any member of the host communities, any herder that breaches the peace should be prepared to face the wrath of the law, and Ekiti people should not provoke the herdsman or kill their cattle.”
It concludes that: “It is therefore agreed that pastoralists/farmers crisis and killings, under any guise must stop immediately. The meeting supports the anti-night grazing stand of the law because it protects the interest of all parties, and the law has taken its course in the violation of letters of these resolutions. Similarly, the meeting describes Governor Fayose as a peaceful leader who represents hope for all.”