Farmer/Herdsmen Crises: Gov. Umahi’s Committee Brokers Ceasefire in Taraba
The sub-technical committee on Farmers/Herdsmen clashes headed by Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, had after a 14 hour meeting spanning three days with stakeholders, disclosed that an agreement was reached for a finish of hostilities between the parties, even as it was able to make some observations and recommendations on the lingering crises in Taraba State.
The sub-committee was part of the main committee earlier set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yomi Osinbajo, to find a way of resolving the crises between farmers and herdsmen in the affected states.
The committee which began its mission on 19 February in Jalingo, met with various stakeholders in the crises which include: farmers, herdsmen under the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), politicians, council chairmen, traditional rulers, youth, tribal and religious associations and so on, and at the end of the day made certain observations and recommendations that would bring an end to the crises.
According to the observations as read to newsmen after the meeting, the Mambilla crises was quite distinct from the clashes between farmers and herdsmen and that the “herdsmen at Mambilla refused to come to state their own side of the story”.
Other observations were that the “herdsmen refused to appear before the public hearing to give their own views to protect their interest.
It was also agreed that any state of the federation has the constitutional powers and rights to make her own laws including Taraba State.
Individuals or groups must obey the laws of the State whether they like the Law or not but can always see the authority to complain about any section(s) of the Law that will infringe on his/her rights or go to court especially where such persons or person failed to attend public hearing”.
It was further observed that 95 percent of the crises in the State are being instigated from outside the State and that before the Law on grazing, there were so many crises. It was agreed that certain sections of the Law be revisited by the Taraba government so that the fears of the herdsmen will be addressed.
As par the recommendations, the committee reached that “all cases in court should be suspended to allow the peace committee end their work” and a six month moratorium be given before the operation of the Law to allow for the herdsmen to key into the programs. All parties have also agreed to “embrace new modern ways of livestock production with the aid of the State and federal government”.
Ultimately,”all parties have agreed that there will be more killings, clashes, violence…” The statement reads.
Meanwhile, a committee would be set up within the next two weeks to discuss all recommendations, perceptions and fears of all the parties and resolve same. The members would be made up of farmers groups, traditional rulers, Miyetti Allah, other ethnic groups, government stakeholders, Attorney General of the State among others.
Farmers/Herdsmen Crises: Presidential Committee Seeks Lasting Solution
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, has encouraged the Presidential Committee on the Farmer/Herdsmen Crises to look beyond the attacks being perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen as there could be more than meets the eye.
He spoke during a meeting in the late hours of Sunday when the Presidential Sub- Committee on the Farmers/ Herdsmen Crises set up by Vice President Yomi Osinbajo visited the State on a fact finding mission aimed at resolving the farmer/herdsmen crises in the State.
According to Ishaku, government was in the habit of taking ‘rash decisions’ which was not helpful and cited the case of Boko Haram attacks where action was only taken when the Emir of Kano was attacked sometime ago. He therefore urged the committee to look further than what was seen.
Ishaku then thanked the vice president for setting up the committee and promised to present it with a catalogue of the crises since 2015 adding that most of the gazetted places had been populated or demarcated for various uses.
While speaking during the meeting, Chairman of the sub committee and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, described the speculations that the government was considering cattle colonies and ranches as false and therefore condemned the killings in Taraba, describing it as ‘most unfortunate’. He then corroborated that fact by reading the vice president’s message on the matter to the audience which included traditional rulers, party stalwarts, members of the executive and legislature, youth organisations, local council chairmen among others.
Umahi quoted the Vice President, saying “no land would be forcefully taken for ranching” even as he disclosed that those involved in the Gboko killings have been arrested.
The sub-committee on farmer/herdsmen crises was part of the main committee recently set-up by the National Economic Council headed by Vice president Yomi Osinbajo. It is chaired by Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
Meanwhile, stakeholders at the late night meeting identified the causes of the clashes and their solutions.
First to speak was Emir of Muri, Abbas Tafida, who attributed high level of ignorance, failure of policing and the legal system, leadership failure and excesses of the media to be the causes of the crises.
On his own part, the State ALGON Chairman, Stephen Ibrahim Agya, blamed the security agents for its failure to protect the local people. Narrating the experiences at his local government area, Kurmi, Agya stated that the security agencies must protect the people from invading herdsmen whom he described as Aliens.
In the same vein, Dr Alfred Yahaya Kobiba, who represented the Yandang community also revealed that those herdsmen were Aliens who might have been hired to attack communities in Lau LGA. Kobiba, who is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), belong to the community in Lau LGA where 68 innocent persons were killed last year by suspected herdsmen. According to him, the government should establish a military garrison in the area in order to avert future reoccurrence, even as he said the ranching system should be established in the state.