By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA– Following what he described as incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in communities in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, for Eastern Ngwa Police Division, Superintendent Saleh Musa, last week summoned a town hall meeting with a view to finding solutions to the crises.
Addressing the traditional rulers, town unions and youth groups as well as the Fulani herdsmen, Musa asked the people to live in peace and harmony for the development of their communities.
He said the aim of the meeting was to find lasting solutions to the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers over the destruction of crops by cows adding that the intervention of the police in the area, had averted crises which could have escalated to loss of lives and property. He urged both parties not to take the laws into their hands, despite the level of provocation.
In their separate speeches, traditional rulers of Etiti Ohanze and Ohanze Isiahia autonomous communities, Eze Marshal Ogbonna and Eze Ngozi Obia, respectively, suggested that herdsmen must inform traditional rulers about their entry into their territories to ensure peaceful coexistence between the herdsmen and their host communities, adding that a situation where herdsmen take their cows to graze on farm lands and destroy crops would always lead to conflicts.
“In the past, Fulani herdsmen used to visit our area to graze their cows, and there was no problem because they did not enter our farms but fallow land. But today, the situation has changed; they now invade farms to destroy crops.
“If the farmer challenges them, he is attacked. No farmer will be happy to see cows invading his farms and destroying crops. Let the herdsmen remember that one can sell farm produce to buy cows. The community and the herdsmen need each other. The solution is that the herdsmen must be enlightened on how to go about their business; if they want to enter any community, they should ask for the traditional ruler who will show them where to graze their cows,” the monarchs added.
A cross section of farmers who spoke on the occasion recounted their ugly experiences with heavily armed herdsmen and called on the police to check the trend.