By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
To avert the danger caused by ubiquitous nomads in Bayelsa, the State Government yesterday restricted the activities of herdsmen in the state to specific locations outside the city centre.
Governor of the state, Mr. Seriake Dickson, said the Bayelsa Palm area, would henceforth be used as the new grazing point for the herdsmen to prevent the invasion of farmlands and check any security breach.
In a broadcast in Yenagoa, the governor said the measure had become imperative in view of the recent upsurge in violence and criminal activities of the cattle herders in some parts of the country.
He warned them against bearing arms in the course of grazing their livestock, threatening that anyone caught with weapons would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
The governor said the government had been collaborating with security agencies and leaders of the nomads in the state, with a view to opening up designated ranches for their operations.
He said, “no cattle should be seen roaming the streets of Yenagoa. It is a dangerous trend and we are working on a system to give them a temporary place at the Bayelsa Palm, which has over one thousand hectares. Non-state actors will not be allowed to go about with weapons because government will not condone it.
“We have been taking a lot of measures to check the activities of herdsmen in the state. We condemn the attitude of herdsmen who come into the state and carry cattle to destroy farmlands.”
Furthermore, the governor noted that meetings were being held with leaders of the different groups to ensure that any breach of peace is avoided.
“We have been working with the security agencies and leaders of some of these elements. I am aware of these instances. People should not take laws into their hands, but we will not allow anybody intimidate Bayelsa people. Any herdsman found with arms will be dealt with according to the law.
“Meanwhile, we will open up places where people can learn animal husbandry. They have been told , but we never wanted to sensationalise this issue. The agriculture ministry and security operatives are on top of the issue”, he said.