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Quick Take: Governors are responding to herdsmen attacks with different policy measures


Quick Take: Governors are responding to herdsmen attacks with different policy measures

As the nation continues to be roil following reports of herdsmen attacks in two states in the Middle Belt region – Benue and Taraba – some state governors have begun to respond with a raft of policy pronouncements and measures.

Below are some of the highlights:

Governor Akeredolu’s Cattle Rearing Regulation

The Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, will not be prohibiting Open Grazing in the State but would instead regulate it. He announced this through his Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture, Akin Olotu at a stakeholders meeting involving the Fulani Herdsmen, Farmers, Community Leaders and Security Operatives. 

“We are not going to prohibit cattle rearing in Ondo state; we are going to regulate it. It is not a crime to rear or own cattle in any part of the state, but it has to be done legitimately, it has to be done in such a way that someone’s business is not used to destroy another person’s business.

“So, what we will have in Ondo state is cattle rearing regulation in which case, there will be dos and don’ts,” he said. 

A committee which includes security agents,  farmers,  herdsmen, members of Fulani Myeti Allah and the Hausa community, would be put in place in all the 18 local government as well as constant sensitization exercise on the need for peaceful co-existence between the Fulani/Hausa community and indigenes.  

Ondo already has in place a restriction on grazing in the state capital, Akure since March 2016. The most recent attacks occurred in January 2018 which led to the death of a woman in Arodoye Community, Akure South Local Government. 

Governor Umahi’s Herdsmen Registration 

The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, would be embarking on a registration programme of all the herdsmen in the state in other to identify the “genuine ones”. 

Umahi announced after a meeting with his State Executive Council that he would roll out his plan following a serious consultation with herdsmen, which will also involve traditional Rulers and the Security Agencies. The Governor said he is not interested in trouble or taking laws into his hands but insisted the herdsmen registration must be conducted. 

“We have to register all the herdsmen in the State to fish out genuine ones, our people are not happy with the level of destruction of our farmlands,” he said. 

According to the governor, the State Government had provided boreholes to herdsmen for their cattle but they abandoned it and resorted to destroying rice farms “at Ezillo and Izzi communities of the State.”

Governor Fayose’s Hunters Mobilization 

The Ekiti State Governor is mobilizing local hunters to rally and defend themselves and their communities. It is not clear what level of support the governor intends to give to the locals but it appears he has no confidence in the ability of the Nigerian Police Force and the Buhari administration to assist his state. 

Fayose announced via a series of tweets, “On the herdsmen’s menace, I met with local hunters in Ekiti State today and charged them to protect the people since I won’t run to anyone in Abuja for help that is not available. They must not take laws into their hands, but they should defend Ekiti & its people.

“On the issue of protection of the lives of Ekiti people, I’m not one that will want to be politically correct. Protection of lives must be done anyway which way. My message is clear and simple, no way for killer herdsmen in Ekiti!”

Open Grazing has been completely banned in Ekiti state since May 2016

Governor Bello’s Fulani Indigenisation 

The Kogi State Governor is exploring peace and integration. Yahaya Bello directed that the traditional rulers in Kogi state should accommodate the Fulani herdsmen and consider them indigenes of the community.

Obadofin of Kabba, Michael Yusuf, one of the traditional rulers who has started implementing the directive disclosed that a committee would review the applications and resolve communal disputes. 

Governor Obiano’s sensitization

The Anambra governor, Willie Obiano, said this week that even though the people of the state are peace-loving and would give opportunities to herdsmen to carry out their business in the state, on no account should a herdsman be found wielding an AK-47 rifle or any such weapon.

Obiano said measures have been put in place to guarantee peaceful and harmonious coexistence between herdsmen and host communities.

“Part of the measures taken to address the menace was sensitising both the host communities and the Fulani herdsmen of the existing agreement that any party that destroys either the lives or property of the other will pay and also be prosecuted,” the governor said.

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