The Ebonyi State Government has announced the ban of night grazing and cattle rearing by underage herders in the state following a Thursday meeting with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
The state governor Dave Umahi, during an enlarged security meeting attended by leaders of herdsmen, security chiefs and stakeholders in the state, warned against the destruction of farm produce by herders and killing of cattle by their host communities.
The meeting, which also witnessed peaceful resolution of recent crises between some communities and herders, which led to destruction of farm produce and left many persons injured.
Speaking at the meeting, which held at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki, the governor said, “If you a community leader and your people kill a cow and we agree on what to pay and you refused to pay, if you are a herdsman and you destroy farm crops and we say you need to pay and you refuse to pay, such thing will not happen in Ebonyi State.
“Miyetti Allah must look into the movements of herdsmen from another state into Ebonyi State.
Does it mean that Enugu State doesn’t have pasture? Doesn’t Abia State have pasture? It’s an act of provocation and we will not allow that. We have to fight those who are coming into the state to destroy the peaceful co-existence between us and the herdsmen, who have lived with us in this state for long,” The governor
Also speaking at the meeting, the National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said the leadership of MACBAN would not fold their hands and watch herders unleash terror on their host communities, saying it would equally be unfair for host communities to treat herders unfairly.
The law had been in place for a while ( ) and for some time now there had been reported encroachment of herders on farmlands .
The State Government scheduled yesterday’s meeting with Miyetti Allah body to intimate them on certain decisions that the state would enforce regarding normadic Cattle rearing.
A source familiar with the matter said the government has directed that “for any herder that want to migrate to the state, they will have to meet with the traditional ruler/town union of any community they are interested in settling in while the ruler or the union leader will have to take this request to the LGA Chairman who will in turn take it to the Governor’s Office.
“Upon approval, they’ll be officially documented for proper identification.”
The source added that neither will herders be allowed to camp in bushes / farms at night. They’ll be required to rent proper accommodation while minors from 1-17years are prohibited from herding cattle, an offence now punishable by the state law.”
Minor herders have in the past caused serious troubles with their cattle in some farms and because they are not of legal age , they are neither arrested nor charged.
However , for those herders that have well settled in the state ,they have no cause to worry about the first two points as said by the source. The Governor appointed a Technical Assistant who sees to their being properly documented.
Ebonyi State is predominantly agrarian. This move is diplomatic to nip future skirmishes in the bud, the source in the government office added.