By Emem Idio
YENAGOA—IJAW stakeholders, under the aegis of Ijaw Nation Forum, INF, an online social mobilization platform for the Ijaw ethnic nationality, have tackled Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State over the controversial allocation of a grazing land in Yenagoa measuring about 1,200 hectares, to herdsmen in the state.
In an open letter addressed to the governor, entitled, The Menace of the Cattle Herdsmen and Ijaw Peoples’ Security, the forum questioned the rationale behind the allocation of the grazing area to the herdsmen.
In the letter, by Benedict Okoro, INF moderator, the forum asked Dickson to “give reasons why Bayelsa State in the South-South region seems to have officially established grazing land for the cattle herders from outside the state.”
INF also asked the governor to explain how the cattle would access the allocated space without passing through other areas.
“There have been several ugly stories coming from nearby Delta and Edo States concerning the life and livelihood threatened activities of herdsmen in recent times. Are there other measures Bayelsa State has adopted to prevent such occurrences, aside from the grazing land already allocated to the herdsmen?
“How did the Bayelsa State Government reach the conclusion that allocation of grazing land to herdsmen will be beneficial to an average Ijaw person and was consideration given to the atrocities being committed by these herdsmen elsewhere in the country, in reaching that conclusion?”, the group asked.
“Is the allocation of grazing land to the herdsmen another expansion of Bayelsa Business Initiative? Is the allocation of grazing land to herdsmen a public/private partnership project and what percentage is the state government providing in funding it? Kindly avail us of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between government and the partner.
“Who are the cow owners and private partners and if so, are they paying for the grazing land? What are the social responsibility services that will be provided to the communities from which the land was acquired?”