Ahead of Monday’s meeting between South-West governors and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, groups, including the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere and its northern counterpart, the Arewa Consultative Forum, on Sunday called for a peaceful resolution of the eviction notice given to herdsmen in Ondo State’s forest reserves.

While the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, in an interview with The PUNCH said the group’s focus was peace, Afenifere stated that one side should not regard itself as the master of others in the Nigerian federation.

But the Ondo State Government said it was prepared to begin enforcement of the eviction notice on Monday (today). It, however, assured Nigerians that the exercise would not be violent.

Recall that a seven-day ultimatum, which the state Governor,  Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, gave Fulani herdsmen on Monday to vacate the state’s forest reserves, had generated a lot of controversies.

The Presidency faulted the governor, saying he acted outside his powers, but the state government insisted that it would not withdraw the order to quit, which it described as lawful.

The PUNCH learnt that as Akeredolu’s seven-day ultimatum expired on Sunday, the South-West governors and the Miyetti Allah would meet on Monday.

It was gathered that the meeting would be held in Akure, Ondo State capital. According to a source,  the meeting is meant to find lasting solutions to the incessant killings, kidnapping and crises between herdsmen and farmers in the South-West.

The Ondo State Chairman of MACBAN,  Alhaji Bello Garba,  who confirmed the development,  said the national leadership of the association had arrived in Akure in preparation for the meeting.

He said, “The National Chairman of Miyetti Allah is in town now and I cannot talk about what we want to discuss at the meeting now but I can assure you that we are going to address the press tomorrow (Monday) after the meeting.”

In an interview with The PUNCH,  Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, called for sincerity from both sides, adding one should not regard itself as the master.

He stated, “We are for peace meeting anytime and we advise both parties to be sincere. We must stop this issue of any side behaving as if we are in a master-servant union. We are equal citizens of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

We’re for peace, we are not beating drums of  war – ACF

The ACF said on Sunday it was for peace and for not war.

Apparently referring to its widely reported statement on Saturday, the northern body said it never called for another civil with regard to the ongoing attacks on Fulani communities in Oyo State.

 Yawe told one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Sunday that the group was not beating drums for war.

He said, “Our earlier statement on this issue was intended to call the attention of federal and state South-West governments to a trend which may lead us to war if they did not act quickly.

“We did not call for war or beat drums of war as falsely interpreted and given banal headline by a newspaper (not The PUNCH). But honestly, we are scared of the current trend.  Our aim is peace.”