By Sunny A. David, Awka
The Anambra State Government has warned against wanton destruction of farmlands resulting from influx of cattle herders into the state as well as reported incessant attacks and killing of cattle belonging to local herders in one or two communities by hoodlums with its attendant security implications.
This was contained in released signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba.
The release said aside routine reports by both farmers and cattle owners regarding destruction of farmlands and killing of cattle, large scale damage to farmlands and attacks on cattle have been observed to be prevalent in previous years during the harmattan season in December.
It also noted that the time coincided with festive periods when there would be increased demand for meat and resulting to enormous tension between cattle herders and their host communities.
The statement noted that this state of affairs was later changed by the state government by introducing a conflict resolution mechanism which has earned great praise from the public because it is predicated on justice, fairness and equity as well as equity and rapid response.
It said that to avert similar occurrences during this year’s festivities and beyond, the government has directed that all traditional rulers and presidents general in communities hosting cattle herders to ensure their people, especially the youths, are law-abiding; and should continue to embrace the state government’s mechanism for resolving crisis between farmers and animal herders.
It diirected that reports of farm destruction by cattle should be made promptly to the Cattle Menace Committee representatives in their communities for proper evaluation and adequate compensation.
The release also said that traditional rulers should warn their youths and other subjects to desist from any form of attack and killing of cows.
It added that every affected community will be compelled to identify the culprits and ensure payment of the market value of the cow killed as compensation to the owners and in addition, the culprits will be prosecuted in court.
It called on all relevant traditional rulers and presidents general to see this directive as central to the state government policy to make Anambra remain the safest and most peaceful state in Nigeria noting that the existing good relations between herders and their host communities in Anambra State are part of the social harmony narrative in the state.
By Sunny A. David, Awka