NOTES that conflict between settled farmers in various parts of the country and nomadic cattle herdsmen is posing grave danger to national security, harmonious communal life and national unity.
NOTES the perennial reports of one form of conflict or another every day between these two economic groups across the country from the East, to the West, to the Middle Belt and to the Northern parts of the Country. Only recently, many people were killed in Abbi, in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State allegedly by herdsmen and the continuing killings in Agatu, in Benue State are examples.
WORRIED that herdsmen with little or no regard for the economic and cultural interests of settled farm owners, lead their cattle to graze across the farms and lands indiscriminately, leaving in their traildevastations of high proportions and serious economic wastages.
WORRIED that tales of herdsmen being heavily armed with modern firearms with which somecriminally-minded elements among the herdsmen engage in criminal activities bespeak of colossal security breach and a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode.
ALARMED at the audacity with which herdsmen carry, openly, modern firearms without any interference by security agencies.
WORRIED at the increasing reported cases of armed robbery, human savagery, rampant rape, maiming and kidnapping of their victims who are mostly land or settled farm owners who try to stop the devastations of their farms.
NOTES that nomadic cattle grazing is an economic activity and the owners of the cattle and the rearers should not despoil the economic interests of other farmers as they pursue theirs as this may take political and ethnic colouration with negative consequences on our national life.
OBSERVES that President Muhammadu Buhari had in July of 2015 directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to initiate strategies for ending the incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes across the country and the Federal Government is said to be considering creating grazing routes for the movement of the cattle.
OBSERVES that creating routes for grazing would create further tension as it would encourage the violation of the rights of settled landowners and farmers whose crops and communities bear the adverse brunt of nomadic cattle grazing and expose citizens living along the routes to health dangers as cattle tend to be repositories and carriers of certain diseases harmful to human population. It would also upset the cultural sensibilities of traditional land owners.
OBSERVES FURTHERthat creating grazing routes would also result on the one hand for the nomads, in accepting nomadic life as norm and the implication is a denial of the benefits of settled human civilisation, including the right to own homes and land and the rights to have their wards of these herdsmen properly educated.
PERSUADED THAT a consideration of strategies for settled cattle farming, as are being proposed by various stakeholders, would be a better approach in addressing the issues associated with the rather out-dated nomadic cattle rearing system of agriculture.
FURTHER PERSUADED that adopting the settled system of cattle grazing will encourage the emergence of ancillary industries within and around the communities where cattle reserves, large farms and ranches are located as is obtained in all countries that have adopted modern modes of agricultural production.
THEREFORE RESOLVE TO:
- CONDEMN the criminal activities of some elements among cattle herdsmen who use the cover of their trade to perpetrate harrowing despoliation of people’s farms and engage in other sundry criminal activities.
- URGE the Federal Government to urgently establish ranches and Grazing Reserves across the country, and adopt other strategies to enable nomadic cattle handlers settle to modern system of Livestock keeping.
- DIRECT a joint Committee of the Committees on Agriculture; Interior; and National Security to investigate causes, incidences and consequences of conflict between herdsmen and farmers and recommend measures for tackling the problem.