Cattle breeders, owners and herders in Anambra State have been advised to maintain peace in their host communities in order to avoid clashes with farmers.
The call was made in Awka, yesterday, during the expanded meeting of Anambra State Cattle Menace Control Committee (ASCMCC), attended by traditional rulers, cattle owners and representatives of the state government.
Secretary of ASCMCC, Mr. Oscar Christopher, said the meeting was critical given frequent clashes between herders and farmers in parts of the state and the South East.
He said the meeting was at the instance of Governor Willie Obiano as part of measures to maintain peace and security in the state.
“This meeting is called to bring community leaders and cattle owners to a roundtable, so that cases of clashes between herders and farmers in the state will be resolved.
It has been our rule that any herder that loses his cattle to farmers will be compensated. We also said that any farmer whose crop is destroyed by herdsmen will receive his own compensation. This has been working well for us, because, it has minimised clashes. Instead of fighting, one could simply be compensated.
“We are here today to tell the herdsmen in Anambra the rules and regulations to operate. We found out that cattle owners are engaging the services of very young boys to guide their cows. These boys, sometimes, hardly differentiate between grasses and crops. We want cattle owners to engage the services of mature individuals, not kids.
“We also desire that henceforth, any herder coming into Anambra should inform the leader of Fulani community in the state for proper documentation.
Also, any herder or group of herders entering any community should inform relevant community leaders like the Igwe or the President General for proper identification and checks; because, we want to mitigate clashes by doing proper documentation,” Christopher said.
Leader of the Fulani community, Gidado Saddiki, commended the state government for providing the enabling environment for herders to operate. He said the Fulani were peace loving people, and would always abide by the rules and regulations as stated by the cattle menace control committee.
Traditional ruler of Amanuke in Awka North Local Government Area, Igwe Alphonsus Ezebilo, who spoke on behalf of other community leaders, said cattle owners engaging the services of young boys and others infiltrating into communities without the knowledge of community leaders had caused problems in the past and tasked the herdsmen to desist from such acts.