The Ogun State government has vowed to invoke its recent anti-land grabbing law as part of measures to stem the menace of herdsmen/farmers clashes in the state.
Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, disclosed this in Abeokuta at the end of a security council meeting chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Yetunde Onanuga.
The meeting, held against the backdrop of herdsmen attacks, especially in Yewa North local government area of the state, was attended by heads of security agencies, including Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Vigilante Service of the state.
The state House of Assembly had in 2016 passed the anti-land grabbing law tagged “Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Lands and Landed Property Law” which prescribes 25 years imprisonment for any violator and death sentence in case of loss of lives.
Briefing reporters, Adeoluwa said the state government will strengthen its conflict resolution committee which was constituted in 2012 to resolve disputes emanating from the two parties.
The SSG explained that the anti-land grabbing law had taken care of the contemporary challenges involving herdsmen and farmers.
According to him, the government and security agencies would pay a closer attention to activities of the “transborder pastoralists” whom he blamed for most of the attacks in the state.
Adeoluwa said the government had directed village heads in the state to conduct a census and keep a record of genuine herders in their respective communities with a view to combating the menace.
While commending the locals for not engaging in reprisal attacks, the SSG noted that the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led administration was paying attention to the possibility of Boko Haram elements’ involvement in the attacks.
He said, “All Nigerians would be welcome in Ogun State but there are laws and rules that every stakeholder, every visitor, every herdsman, every farmer must comply with.
“The Council also took note that this law already provides for most of the contemporary challenges that confront us today as far as herdsmen, settlers and farmers are concerned.
“Council reaffirmed government determination to continue to fully implement this law which already prohibits forcible entry on lands.
“Council decided that for us in Ogun State, we want everybody from all parts of the country and even outside but we will continue to insist that our laws be respected and obeyed.
“Our existing conflict resolution committee is a standing committee that has been put in place since 2012 when the crisis first arose and we’ve decided to further strengthen the committee.
“Council looked at the sister issue of Boko Haram because as they are routing them of that place (North East), they are going to all other areas for refuge and Ogun State is not exempted from the collateral damage of success in the North East.”
Adeoluwa assured that compensations would be paid to genuine victims from both sides while not opening floodgate of claims.