The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria on Friday denied responsibility for the flag allegedly hoisted in the Orin Farm Settlement in Orin Ekiti in the Ido/Osi Council Area of Ekiti State in December last year.
The Head of Miyetti Allah in the area, Alhaji Adamu Abashe, also absolved members of the association of the destruction of the farms of the natives of the community.
He spoke in Ado Ekiti at a consultative meeting organised by the state government between the Orin Ekiti community and the herdsmen as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis between them, just as the community insisted that Miyetti Allah in the area were responsible.
The community had in December protested alleged destruction of their farms by the herdsmen and hoisting of a red flag in the farm which they alleged indicated danger and sign of plot to forcibly take over their land from them.
Abashe said, “We do not know how the flags got there. We were not responsible. Those perpetrating troubles in the area are herders from other states and not those that are resident in the area. Those perpetrating killings and destruction of farmlands in Orin are outsiders but with efforts coming from government, Orin community and Fulani people, all these issues will be resolved.
“We have lived in Orin Ekiti for over 30 years. We have been living together peacefully. When I was kidnapped, I did not say Orin Ekiti people were responsible, because we are brothers. It was after my kidnap that the kidnappers came to kill a Tiv woman in that farmstead.
“When they kidnapped my labourer, I paid N300,000 as ransom and I didn’t say Orin people were behind it. I am not happy with the killings and destruction in Orin. We are not planning evil for these people that we had lived peacefully with.
“Orin people are not my enemies, but the bandits rearing in the town caused this disagreement. But if you have anything against me, kindly forgive me. Let us live together as brothers,” he pleaded.
Mr Kayode Omotoso, who conveyed the community’s resolution, insisted that Fulani herders in the area were responsible for killings, hoisting of the flags and destruction of farms worth over N50 million in the town, hence should leave the land.
Omotoso said, “Two years ago, they hoisted one white flag with red linings and 15 days after, a pregnant Tiv woman was killed. Our kinsman, Mr Emmanuel Ilori, was killed last year and these scenarios may not allow us to allow Fulani herders to live with us.
“These people are giving us a lot of discomfort. We appeal to Ekiti State government to ask them to leave. We don’t want Fulani on our land anymore. We are peaceful people. We don’t want Orin Ekiti to be known for negative news.”
Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Brigadier General Ebenezer Ogundana (retd), advised the feuding parties to tolerate each other in the interest of peace, saying, “The essence of this discussion is how we can live together peacefully”.
Olumilua, who said the submissions of both sides would be considered and addressed, added, “What is more important to the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration is peaceful coexistence. Peace is key to achieve this”.
Ogundana said that the state government would investigate those behind the killings, destruction of farms and hoisting of flag.