Abakaliki – The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has condemned Monday’s clash in Onunwakpu community of Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi which led to the death of three farmers and a herdsman.
The National Secretary of the association, Alhaji Baba Usman, made the condemnation on Tuesday in Abakaliki during an enlarged security meeting convened by Gov. David Umahi to which the Miyetti Allah national leadership was invited.
Usman said the union’s members were law abiding, and that Ebonyi was one of the states in the country where herdsmen operated freely without hindrance and lived peacefully with the citizens.
“We have been treated fairly in Ebonyi as exemplified by the government’s fulfillment of its promise to arrest and prosecute the person that attacked and killed our member in 2017.
“Monday’s incident which led to the deaths is still shocking to us and we declare that it was perpetrated by criminals among us who had been causing problems and giving us a negative image.
“We also condemn all forms of atrocities such as rape allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen across the state as our law abiding members are presently at the receiving end of these acts,” he said.
The national secretary assured that members of the union would not encourage violence in any form noting that they would be made to abide by the state government’s laws on cattle rearing.
“We are against night grazing, illegal migration of herders to other states, grazing by minors among others, as these provisions are also obtained in the laws of Ebonyi.
“Ebonyi people should realise that these criminals who parade dangerous weapons such as AK47 guns, also rustle our cattle as we have lost more than 2 million cows to their activities.
“We promise to intensify our education of pastoralists and herders to abide by the cattle rearing laws, shun acts that would lead to violence and breach of the harmonious relations with Ebonyi citizens,” he said.
He commended Gov.Umahi for his mature disposition toward the clashes, noting that such accounted for his nomination as the Chairman of the National Committee on Farmers/Herdsmen Crisis.
“The state’s free education policy and the governor’s insistence that herders’ children must attend schools would solve the problem of grazing by minors which causes most of the herding problems in the country,” Usman said.
Umahi in his response, noted that his government might be forced to float a group of guards that would ensure the protection of lives and property of the state’s citizens.
“We have laws that regulate cattle rearing in the state consisting of the agreements reached with the Miyetti Allah leadership in the state for harmonious existence of farmers and herdsmen.
“The provisions of these laws include prohibition of night grazing, illegal migration of herdsmen into the state, ban on possession of guns and machetes during cattle rearing and grazing of cattle on farmlands.
“When these provisions are breached, the security of my people would no longer be guaranteed and I, therefore, direct the relocation of herdsmen from the affected Izzi community.
“This order subsists until I talk with and pacify the Izzi clan because unprovoked attacks are dangerous and this is a clear case of such,” he said.
The governor regretted that he had been touring the country to ensure peace between herdsmen and farmers while related clashes had increased in his state.
“Ebonyi people hold their traditional values in high esteem as any farm where a woman is raped cannot yield fruits again, while the woman and her husband are defiled if such act occurs at home,” he said.
Mr Paul Nwogha, Chairman of Izzi Local Government, said that the rampaging herdsman who killed his kinsmen appeared deranged and was arrested and handed over to security agencies.
“When the culprit killed the first victim who went to feed his cow in his farm, he further killed an old man who came to rescue his victim and went into nearby homes and destroyed everything in sight,” he said.
He noted that the ensuing clash led to the death of a herdsman and severe injuries inflicted on others who are presently receiving treatment in hospitals in the state,” Nwogha said.
NAN reports that the meeting, the fourth in one month by the governor on the clashes, was attended by heads of security agencies in the state, top government officials and traditional rulers, among others. (NAN)Source://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/955185/