Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state on Saturday moved to end the intermittent clashes between farmers in the state and Fulani herdsmen even as he insisted that no part of the state would be given out for the purpose of cattle colonies.
The Governor also equally made it categorically clear that the State Government has no resources to embark on any ranching or colony being an agrarian state whose economic mainstay is agriculture.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, and made available to reporters, the Governor stated that he has initiated new measures towards maintaining peace between farmers and herdsmen across the State by fully engaging the traditional rulers and leaders of Miyetti Allah in the state.
Uzor said in the statement that the Governor who made the statement while addressing traditional rulers, presidents of town unions and other stakeholders at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre in Abakaliki, also 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 sustainable 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 does so, he must 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 the 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 neighboring 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 also hold constant meetings with the herdsmen so that they can identify those from Niger Republic and other areas that foment trouble”
The statement further added that Governor Umahi, being a member of the Presidential Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to reconcile and ensure peace between the farmers and herdsmen across the country, would continue to explore measures within the ambit of the law to ensure peace in Ebonyi state, noting that charity begins at home.