Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Anti Open Grazing Law: Give Herdsmen More Time - Gov Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, leader of the sub technical committee on National Economic Council mediating between farmers and herdsmen crisis has said that Fulani herdsmen both  in Benue and Nasarawa States have agreed to adhere to the new anti open grazing law but pleaded that  they should be given enough time.

Governor Umahi who addressed  newsmen on the outcome of their visit to both Benue and Nasarawa States said that the herdsmen pleaded to be given enough time to  commence ranching and or move to states with grazing reserves as well as requesting assistance from federal government.

“The cheering news is that the herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa States are ready to abide by the law but that they would need more time for ranching and support from federal government.
“More time for them to move to grazing reserves with the support of federal government'”.
Leader of the committee  said that the members  got to know  that there  were 2 million hectares of land  in 19 states of northern Nigeria in which one million hectares of land was gazetted as grazing reserves.

“We as a committee noted that there are over two million hactres of land across 19 northern Nigeria and over one million of them have already gazetted as grazing reserve and this one million is already developed.
“There is a place in Gombe state that about 375 hactre is developed as grazing reserve. We have 74,000 hactre in Kaduna and there is another location that has over 150,000 hectares of land that have already been developed.”

Governor Umahi said that there was  need for federal government to help in the development of grazing reserves and  to start  seen animal husbandry as economic venture it could invest in by giving soft loans to owners.
According to him, ‘federal government should begin development of grazing reserves, the CBN anchor borrower scheme that has succeeded  in agricultural sector should  be extended to animal husbandry, the animal husbandry should be  seen as economic venture for government  to invest in by giving soft loan’.

He noted that federal government through NEMA  needs  to come to the aid of both states , saying, ‘because there is no amount of the states’ resources that can assist the people in the camps.’
While stating that there were over 110,000 (one hundred and ten thousands) displaced persons in the seven designated camps in Benue state, the governor  said, ‘children between the ages of four and eight constituted 70%  of the population and the conditions we saw them in are not palatable.’
“We owe it a duty to give better lives to these people.”

Umahi said that the committee observed that  both governors of Nasarawa and Benue states were committed to peace as identified by the security agencies.
“It was observed that both governors shared informations, opinions and there is no crisis between them”,  governor Umahi said.

He further said that all parties (both herdsmen and farmers) talked   about invasion by undocumented herdsmen that come from other countries and demanded that they should follows international ECOWAS  rules and that all their cattle  must be quarantined.
Umahi said that the Fulanis denied the claim of conquest of Benue valley shifting the blame on social media .

The committee members had  arrived Makurdi, Benue State capital on Saturday on fact finding mission to look for ways to proffer lasting solution to the incessant crises between farmers and herdsmen across the country.
Umahi said that the sub technical committee met with all the stakeholders both in Benue and Masarawa states.

According to him, ‘the committee met with leaders  and farmers  in Benue State as well as  Benue herdsmen already relocated to Nasarawa and the herdsmen resident in Nasarawa so also the Tiv indigenes of Nasarwa state.’

“We have agreed by all parties to this unfortunate incidents that we will pursue peace and that all those with illegal weapons must be arrested
He also applauded the security operatives in both states but called on more deployment of troops to assist in early decongestion of the camps.

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