- Charges them on peaceful coexistence
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Anambra State Chairman of Cattle Menace Committee and Director of Department of State Services Mr Yusfu Ishiaku has charged communities, farmers and Fulani herdsmen to desist from taking any action capable of stoking conflict in the state.
He gave the charge at State Police Headquarters, Awka during a meeting with security agencies comprising the Army, DSS, Police, Civil Defense, and Prisons Service, and stakeholders including Anambra North traditional rulers, farmers, as well as Fulani herdsmen. They discussed issues relating to the destruction of farms by cattle in various communities in the area.
Yusufu cautioned farmers and herdsmen against inciting crisis in their various communities, advising them to report any destruction of farms and other matters to the committee for amicable resolution. He charged them on the importance of avoiding conflict in order to maintain peaceful coexistence.
The Chairman said that the Governor had set up the Committee to ensure peace in the southeastern state, stating that as everybody were free to reside in any part of the state, Fulani herdsmen should graze their cattle but must not bear arms and must pay compensation for any farms destroyed by their cattle. He likewise called on farmers to pay compensations for any cattle killed in any clash.
He said that the Committee was determined that no crisis would erupt between herdsmen and farmers in the state as measures were on ground to settle any existing problems between the parties, reminding them that nobody was above the law of the land and whoever commits a criminal act would be treated according to the law.
The Commissioner of Police Mr Garba Umar in his speech said that Constitution allows for free movement of persons, as he called on the leadership of Fulani herders to coordinate their movement to avoid destruction of farm property.
At the meeting, representatives of farmers from Ayamelum and Anambra East, Mr Anthony Chukwubuike and Mr Ken Okolo, alleged that cattle have destroyed their crops without payment of any compensation by herdsmen, saying that about 200 plots of rice farms in Omor community were destroyed by cattle in the area.
The leader of the Fulani community and Seriki Fulani in Anambra, Sadique Gidado, said that they have been paying compensation to farmers whenever their cows destroyed farmers’ crops, and promised to maintain peace with the host communities.