Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi on Saturday reiterated his stand that no part of the state would be given for the purpose of cattle colony, stating that available land is not enough for agriculture as an agrarian state.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, the Governor initiated measures on how to maintain peace between farmers and herdsmen across the state by fully engaging the traditional rulers and leaders of Miyati Allah in the area of sustaining the peace among the two groups.
He said the governor while addressing traditional rulers, presidents of town unions and other stakeholders at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki used the occasion to reiterate his administration’s resolve to sustaining peace in all parts of the state, which he believes is a panacea to achieving development.
Part of the statement read “the traditional rulers are not just custodians of culture and tradition but also part of peace building. They must ensure peace in their localities by first of all identifying the people living in their communities especially the herdsmen. No herdsman is allowed to graze their cattle in our lands and in an event of that, the herdsmen pay the double value of crops damaged and on repeat of such, the herdsmen will be forced to leave the community.
“The cows are dear to the herdsmen same way the crops are dear to our farmers most especially our belief in sanctity of human life which has been wasted on some areas in the country.
“To ensure security and safety of our people and herdsmen who have lived peacefully with us all these years without problem and to ensure there is no infiltration of killer herdsmen from neighbouring states and countries, traditional rulers are to collate data on herdsmen operating in their communities across the state for easy identification and maintenance of peace. The data should include herdsmen’s names, location and contact phone numbers of their leaders.
“Traditional rulers should hold constant meetings with the herdsmen so that they can identify those from Niger Republic and other areas that foment trouble,” he added.
The Governor further maintained that Ebonyi State being an agrarian state with agriculture as its mainstay, the state will not welcome any cattle colony of any sort but shall in constant collaboration with relevant stakeholders and leaders of the herdsmen, renew efforts to maintain peace and security.
“Governor Umahi is a member of the Presidential Committee headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to reconcile and ensure peace between the farmers and herdsmen across the country and he is doing everything within the ambit of the law to ensure peace in his own state as charity begins at home”, he added.