(EDITORIAL) Herdsmen Crisis: A Laudable Pro-Active Initiative From The Ogbeni

The helmsman steering the ship of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has once again demonstrated the need to be pro-active. This is reflected in the strategic imperatives adopted by the government of the state to prevent herdsmen attacks which has been prevalent in some neighbouring states.

The policies, well thought out and assiduously implemented, have made sure that such attacks have not been pronounced in the state.

We give kudos to the Ogbeni for the far-sighted adoption of this strategic framework long before the issue hit the front pages and became a national security threat across the country. The enormity of what has become a threatening national security calamity is reflected in the letter sent to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria three days ago by the president, Muhammad Buhari.

The President’s letter was in response to the Senate’s which detailed its resolutions on the killings and the way out of the development.

The government of the State of Osun saw it all coming. As far back as June 2014, a committee had been set up to interface between Fulani/Bororo herdsmen and farmers in the state, as well as sorting out any potential, perceived or actual grievances from their respective activities. Had this been done in other states, this national crisis would have been avoided.

We cannot wish away the problems of climate change, a weak internal security mechanism and clashes of culture. But to acknowledge the Chinese ideography for crises, we can turn danger into opportunity to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst and within communities.

This is illustrated in the statement of the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Honourable Mudashir Togun that “in addressing them, (potential area of friction which can turn into full blown crisis) the government has provided 11 boreholes in their various settlements, gave them Hajj slots, and renovated nomadic schools in various settlements in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). All these have given the herdsmen and farmers the confidence that the government is actually determined to ensure peace between the two parties.

“Sometimes, there are issues of some disgruntled herdsmen destroying farmlands, and because of the sincerity of the government and the involvement of the Fulani/Bororos in the state, we were able to identify such cases and where necessary facilitate compensations for such farmers.”

This is the way to go and the sensible thing to do. Once again from the State of Osun, there is always something trailblazing. Just as the state gifted the nation the uplifting free school meals program which has now been adopted by the federal government and initiated in many states, the effective pro-active containment strategies adopted to stem the herdsmen/farmers clashes should be incorporated into a new policy by the federal government to be adopted by the states and the local governments.

Sensible policies save money, lives and prevent social upheavals. Any right thinking person must put aside partisan bickering and give kudos to the pro-active Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. By his astuteness, the Ogbeni commendably averted dislocation, as well possible loss of lives. For doing so, he has earned our gratitude.

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