By Emeka Mamah, Vincent Ujumadu, Dayo Johnson, Simon Ebegbulem, Festus Ahon, Peter Okutu, Emmaneul Una, John Mkom & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Following the killings in Benue and Taraba states in the new year by Fulani herdsmen, state governments across the country have begun putting in place measures to avert a similar occurrence in their domains.
While the states that reacted to the development dismissed the proposal of cattle colonies by the Federal Government, they, however, said they were taking other steps to regulate the activities of the herdsmen to avert attacks.
The states that have so far reacted include Cross River, Edo, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Ondo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Ekiti.
Ayade appoints Fulani as special adviser in C-River
In Cross River State, which had witnessed several hersdsmen/farmers’ clashes that claimed lives and property, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr Chris Ita, said there was robust effort to nip the conflict in the bud as the governor had appointed a Hausa-Fulani, Mr Miagor, as Special, Adviser on Non-indigenes.
According to Ita, Miagor has been facilitating meetings among the Fulani, indigenes and the government and that the move has led to improvement in the relationship between the farmers and herdsmen.
He said security agencies had also been mobilised to the border communities to monitor the movement of herdsmen who might come in from Benue State to cause skirmishes in any of the communities.
Mr Hafix Inuwa , the Police Commissioner, said also that policemen had been put on high alert to ensure that no conflict erupted in any part of the state between the Fulani and the natives.
We’re yet to receive proposal on cow colonies
— Enugu govt
In Enugu, the government said it would not react to issues concerning the cow colonies or grazing reserves until it receives the policy proposal from the Federal Government.
State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Bob Ogbagu Anikwe, in a telephone interview withVanguard in Enugu, yesterday, said: “There are two ways government can react to issues. It is either it reacts to newspaper or media publications or waits for the real circulars or policies to arrive. We are opting for the latter. We want to wait until we receive the Federal Government policy on the grazing colonies even as the state governments were still discussing with it on the way forward.”
We are powerless on security of lives, property—Gov Ishaku
In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku said the duty of protecting lives and property lies in the hands of the Federal Government and not the state since the security operatives are all under the control of the Federal Government.
The governor, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Bala Danhabu, said he had written to President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies on the security threat posed by some people in the state to hinder the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state, adding that he is committed to the peaceful implementation of the anti-open grazing law without discrimination against any tribe or religion.
Our proactive action helped douse tension —Anambra govt
In Anambra State, the state government said the proactive decision it took in handling the issue of farmers/herdsmen clashes helped to douse tension in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication Strategy, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta, told Vanguard that since the setting up of committees in all the communities made up of the police, the army, community leaders and other security and traditional rulers of the affected communities with a mandate to ensure that peace reigned between the farmers and the herdsmen, peace has reigned.
Ondo to regulate herdsmen activities
In Ondo, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu vowed that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on criminal elements.
He said: “We will not tolerate any act of brigandage. We will defend the right of our people to engage in farming without let or hindrance of any sort. We will protect our citizens with such fervor as expected of true representatives. We will sanction with impassioned severity any act, which seeks to tilt the balance of harmonious coexistence in the state towards anarchy.’’
Ebonyi raises joint c’ttee
In Ebonyi State, government said it had put measures in place to ensure the safety of Ebonyi people from the hands of killer herdsmen who might be planning to come to the state.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ebonyi State, Sir Emmanuel Uzor, said: “We have put everything in place to ensure safety of our people in the hands of the rampaging killer herdsmen.
“His Excellency, in his prompt response to the dangerously divisive tendencies that have posed great challenge to our nationhood, had constituted security committee to ensure that there is no infiltration of killer herdsmen into the state.
We’ll unveil comprehensive security arrangement soon — Edo govt
The Edo State Government said it would soon launch a comprehensive security arrangement that will check the excesses of criminals, including the challenges posed by Fulani herdsmen in the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communications, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said though the state government is already working with village heads, traditional rulers and local vigilante members across the communities in the state to check the excesses of herdsmen, the security arrangement, which according to him, will soon be unveiled by Governor Godwin Obaseki will take care of security challenges holistically.
Herdsmen attacks have reduced in Delta — Ukah
Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, said herdsmen attacks have reduced in the state, adding that the state government was meeting regularly with non-indigenes to feel their pulse.
Ukah in a telephone chat with our correspondent, said the state government is in constant dialogue with the Fulani/Hausa people, adding that one of them has been appointed as Special Assistant to the Governor.
“We know the black spots and the security agencies have increased surveillance in those areas,” he said.