By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Following the latest attack launched by suspected herdsmen in Ekiti State, Governor Ayo Fayose has given all herdsmen in the state a three-month ultimatum to register in their respective locations to identify them.
They are to register with a sum of N5,000 each in a bid to know who should be held responsible in the event of any further attacks in the state.
Fayose also vowed to hold the Sarkin Fulani (Head of Fulanis) in Ekiti State, Muhammad Abashe, personally responsible for any further attacks in his domain.
Besides, the governor also promised to forward an executive bill to the House of Assembly proposing a five-year jail term for anybody found guilty of harbouring ‘killer’ herdsmen in the state.
These are some of the highlights of a peace meeting held by the governor with the leadership of the state chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) at the weekend at the Government House, Ado-Ekiti.
The meeting was also attended by farmers, local hunters, security agencies and representatives of the Tiv community in Ado Ekiti.
The latest meeting was summoned in the wake of an attack by “Bororo herdsmen” in Orin-Ekiti, Ido/Osi Local Government Area on Thursday where a pregnant Tiv farmer, Uyoga Iyape, was killed.
Apparently furious about the latest killing of the Tiv woman, who was eight months pregnant, Fayose accused the Fulani leader, Abashe, of failing to provide leadership in stopping his kinsmen from destroying lives and farms across the state.
Fayose said: “Many of the Fulani herdsmen who settled down here did so without permission from anyone. No one can be living with us and we – their host – would not know who they are.
“They said some are strangers who only come briefly but we don’t want that. Now, they would register with government for a token of N5,000.
“It is not their money that we need but their identity and locality. The sum of N5,000 would be renewable after a year.
“We are sending a bill to the state assembly which would be that anyone caught and found guilty of harbouring dangerous Fulani herdsmen would be jailed for five years without an option of fine.
“So, I urge every residents in Ekiti to report anyone or stranger who is suspected to be a killer Fulani herdsman.”
Turning to Abashe, Fayose said: “If you still want to stay among us, you must accept the responsibility to ensure that none of our peoples’ farms is destroyed by herdsmen any longer.
“None of our people must be killed by your men, either they are strangers or those herdsmen living among us.
“If any killing or destruction of farms of our people occurs again in that area, I will ensure that I use the law to fight you their leader on it.
This is the last warning I am giving you.”
The governor said the activities of the ‘killer’ Fulani herdsmen were negatively affecting the name of President Muhammadu Buhari and other notable Fulani leaders in the country.
He said: “This killing is giving Fulani people a bad name. If there are no good people among them, how would General Buhari rise to be president?
“There are doctors, lawyers, engineers and other notable professionals among you.
This is denting their names. The greatest of men are the peace makers.
“Even though President Buhari does not send people to kill, it is spoiling his name. We are to make sure the killing stops.”
Fayose said further: “We won’t be intimidated by the terror of the few. The moment you are caught, you will face the law. The killing by Fulani is worse than Boko Haram.
“We want one Nigeria because we have gone far.
Anyone harbouring criminals will not know peace. Enough is enough! Life is sacred and must be treated as such.”
“I’m calling on the federal government to be firm, when actions are taken against this mindless individuals, this killing will stop. It is because they are taking it like a family affair; this is not in the interest of Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians can’t carry AK47 or pump action.
“I want you to go back home believing in one Nigeria.”