Determined to stop incessant clashes between herders and farmers in Delta State, the state government has promised to partner the communities to secure parcels of land for herdersmen to keep and graze their cows without problems.
The state commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Chief Julius Egbedi, stated this when the Delta State Livestock Management Committee (DLMC) met with leaders of Hausa/Fulani herders in Asaba.
Egbedi while urging the herders to avail the committee their various locations across the state, charged them to identify parcels of land in their various areas of domain and negotiate with the owners for their cattle to graze, adding that the committee would help to cement the agreement reached with the land owners.
He assured that he would engage Hausa/Fulanis in the 25 local government areas as members of law enforcement committees to help identify migrating herders into the state.
The meeting which was called by the leadership of Hausa/Fulani herders in the state was meant to help the state government ensure that the law is peacefully implemented.
Egbedi thanked the herders for calling for the meeting, while assuring them that the law was established to end the rising cases of herders and farmers crisis in the state.
“The state government is looking for ways to ensure that you and the farmers do your businesses undisturbed. Anywhere you have an agreement for a parcel of land to gaze your cattle, let this committee know, so that we can cement that agreement.
“We are also looking for lands for you and as soon as we get, we shall let you know, so that you can restrict your cows there for grazing and not to destroy the community farms, we shall also protect your cattle from invaders.
“This is because, we shall set up an enforcement committee with the Hausa/Fulani included to enable us identify the criminals and migrating herders who cause trouble in the state,” he said.
Egbedi said the livestock law was being established to create the enabling environment for everyone to do their businesses peacefully, adding that its implementation would be done with a human face.
Earlier, the head, Hausa/Fulanis in Delta, Alhaji, Musa Boyi, who spoke though Mr Idris Abubakar, the group’s lawyer, said the law was aimed at finding lasting peace in the various communities. He thanked the government.
He also cautioned on the immediate implementation without adequate education and sensitization, adding that the enforcement committee may cause more harm than good if there was lack of proper understanding of the law.
“We live among the communities and there had been issues of land between various communities, so, we appeal to government to help us map out areas where we can graze our cattle. We that are indigenous herders, we have for many years worked in synergy with the communities, but the criminal herders come in during the dry season and leave as soon as the rains start, they even steal our cows and harm us,” he said.
Obi Muhammed Nduka-Elunor, an Asaba chieftain, while appreciating the state government for the law, said it was not draconian and not something to fight about.