The federal and Oyo State governments have been called upon to beef up security in Oke-ogun area of Oyo State by equipping security agencies more and by enforcing anti-open grazing law that was promulgated in 2020. The call was contained in a Communique issued by Oke ogun Council of Elders (OCE) after its mid-year meeting held in Ibadan on Thursday under the chairmanship of the council’s President, Otunba Bamidele Dada, OON, former Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources. The communique was signed by the Council’s spokesman, Comrade Jare Ajayi.The Oke ogun Elders stated that in addition to herders/farmers’ clashes that are still occurring, influx of Fulanis from outside Nigeria has increased insecurity problem in the area as being manifested in kidnapping, raping, armed robbery cases. They therefore called on the government and security agencies to be firmer in dealing with the situation. They particularly decried the situation in which when farmers and herders have clashes, security agencies, especially the Police, tend to side with the herders. “even when the farmer is the victim. Instances abound in which when, for instance, a cow ate tubers or grains sprayed with chemicals in a farm and something happened to the cattle, the farmer would be forced to pay for the dead cow even when it was the cattle that came to the farm. In this respect, security agencies, especially the Police, are called upon to ensure fairness and justice in their handling of farmers/herders’ clashes.”They called on the Oyo State Government to, without further delay, commence the enforcement of the Anti-Open Grazing Law enacted in November, 2019. The Elders Council noted with concern the strike action embarked upon by members of the Vigilante Group established by various local government councils in Oke ogun as a result of imprecise remuneration and poor welfare. It therefore urged the governments concerned to, as a matter of urgency, respond positively to the demands of the striking security personnel as their service is very critical.
The Oke ogun Elders appealed to the government to take positive actions on the mining activities going on in the area with a view to ensuring that the local people benefit – unlike the present situation in which outsiders, including non-Nigerians, derive greater benefits through the illegal mining activities going on there.Besides calling on the federal government to complete work on long-abandoned Ikere Gorge Dam, the elders also urged the Oyo State Government to set up an Oke-ogun Development Commission to redress the age-long marginalization of the area. Elders at the meeting included Deacon S. A. Oyedemi, Professor Layi Egunjobi, Elder Doja Oladele, Pastor Tunde Adigun, ACP Funke Ladigbolu, Alfa Amusa Adebisi, Engineer A. Shittu, Mr. Wole Oladokun, Mr. Isaac Funmpe Ojeyemi, Barrister Bayo Toluwalase, Mr. I. Taiwo, Mr. Solomon Ige, Mr. I. E. Bolaji, Mr. David Aremu and Comrade Jare Ajayi.
Following is the full text of the Communique:COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A MEETING OF OKE OGUN COUNCIL OF ELDERSOke ogun Council of Elders (OCE) held a meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2022 during which a number of issues affecting the region were deliberated upon. The meeting which was chaired by the Council’s President, Otunba Bamidele Dada, OON, former Minister of State for Agriculture, was hosted by hosted by Professor Layi Egunjobi in his Ibadan home. Oke-ogun area consists of ten local government areas in Oyo State. They are Atisbo, Irepo, Iseyin, Iwajowa, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Olorunsogo, Oorelope, Saki East, and Saki West.Elders at the meeting included Deacon S. A. Oyedemi, Professor Layi Egunjobi, Elder Doja Oladele, Pastor Tunde Adigun, ACP Funke Ladigbolu, Alfa Amusa Adebisi, Engineer A. Shittu, Mr. Wole Oladokun, Mr. Isaac Funmpe Ojeyemi, Barrister Bayo Toluwalase, Mr. I. Taiwo, Mr. Solomon Ige, Mr. I. E. Bolaji, Mr. David Aremu and Comrade Jare Ajayi. Among the issues discussed were the socio-economic condition, security and political situations as well as the general welfare of the people of Oke ogun.The Council took note of the alarm raised by the former Director of Military Intelligence and current Chairman of the Oyo State Security Network (Amotekun), General Kunle Togun (rtd) on the influx of foreign Fulani Bororo who seem bent on taking over many lands in Nigeria particularly in the South West. Togun, for the umpteenth time, raised the alarm while delivering a paper titled ‘Security Challenges: ‘The Significance of Regional Security Dimensions,’ organised by the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS) Students’ Association, University of Ibadan not long ago. His view was corroborated by the pioneer and current directors of the Institute, Professors Isaac Olawale Albert and Tajudeen Akanji. The Oke-ogun Elders expressed serious concern on this matter because Oke ogun, which they represent, is one of the focal areas that the foreign marauders are using as entry point into Nigeria. The Council also took note of incidents of kidnapping for ransom largely being perpetrated by suspected Fulani terrorists. Various steps being taken to confront the security challenges were also considered.After an exhaustive deliberation, the Council resolved as follow:1. The extant insecurity situation in the area is hampering smooth socio-economic activities particularly agricultural practices and commercial activities that involve moving from one location to another. 2. The Elders maintained that clashes between Fulani herders and farmers are still on. It is regrettable that when such incidents occur, farmers are always at the receiving end. This takes the form of farmers being penalized even when the farmer is the victim. Instances abound in which when, for instance, a cow ate tubers or grains sprayed with chemicals in a farm and something happened to the cattle, the farmer would be forced to pay for the dead cow even when it was the cattle that came to the farm. In this respect, security agencies, especially the Police, are called upon to ensure fairness and justice in their handling of farmers/herders’ clashes. 3. The Council commended Oyo State Government under Governor Seyi Makinde, who, along with his colleagues in the South West, established the Amotekun corps. It then urged the government to further strengthen the corps in terms of logistics, personnel, incentives etc. with a view to maximizing its operations. 4. Given their efforts at stemming the frequent clashes between farmers and herders, the various Vigilante Groups set up by various local government councils in the area as well as traditional security outfits (known as Ode) under the auspices of Obas and respective town unions were appreciated. 5. The Elders Council however noted with concern the strike action embarked upon by members of the Vigilante Group established by various local government councils in Oke ogun as a result of imprecise remuneration and poor welfare. It therefore urged the governments concerned to, as a matter of urgency, respond positively to the demands of the striking security personnel as their service is very critical. 6. Considering its potential to put an end to, or considerable reduce, the frequent clashes between farmers and herders, the Anti-Open Grazing Law enacted by the Oyo State Government in November 2019 should be put into operation without further delay. 7. Oke ogun Elders called on the federal and state governments to ensure that the natural resources with which the area is endowed are exploited for the benefit of the people of the area, the people of Oyo State and that of Nigeria as a whole. They argued that if government is alive to its responsibility in this regard, the activities of illegal miners would be curbed as what they do presently only benefit a few most of whom are not even Nigerians. 8. In view of its potentials for agricultural and electricity deliverables, Ikere Gorge Dam was commended to the attention of the federal government as a project that needs urgent attention. Agriculture, portable water for industrial and domestic usage and electricity for many states particularly in the south west will be highly boosted if the Dam is fully completed and put into action.9. Oke-ogun Council of Elders expressed appreciation to Governor Seyi Makinde for various developmental projects his administration is carrying out in Oke ogun. Among them are the Saki Township road, Iseyin-Oyo Road, Iseyin-Ogbomoso Road, Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho Road, LAUTECH Campus in Iseyin etc. 10. The Elders urged the state government to urgently establish Oke-ogun Development Commission (ODC) to encourage and accelerate development in the area in view of its age-long neglect.11. The council appealed to politicians in Oke ogun, in Oyo State and in Nigeria generally to be more committed to the welfare and security of the people. It also called on them to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted under the atmosphere of peace, devoid of violence, thuggery and violence. They urged the politicians and the electoral umpire to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.
Signed by Comrade Jare Ajayi
For Oke ogun Council of Elders.