President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to take firm and definite steps towards addressing conflicts between farmers and herders in agrarian parts of Anambra state.
The traditional ruler of Owelle kingdom in Anambra West Local Government Area, Igwe Anthony Onyekwere made the call against the backdrop of a renewed clash between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in communities of Anambra North Senatorial Zone of the state.
Farmers/Herders clashes have torn many agrarian communities of Anambra North apart with many deaths and destruction of farmlands and property recorded.
The latest is the challenge at Ifite-Ogwari Community in Ayamelum Council Area, where no fewer than 4 persons have been confirmed dead by the Police and many villagers arrested and kept in police detention.
Igwe Onyekwere believes the urgent intervention of the Presidency in strengthening conflict resolution mechanisms and curbing cross-border movement by cattle rustlers and armed herders, will help address the problem.
“I want to appreciate the efforts of the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano in setting up the cattle menace committee to address the face-off between farmers and herders. However, this effort by the governor has limitations, hence the need for President Buhari to evolve a more encompassing approach that will cut across all the states of the Federation,” he noted.
The royal father enumerated some of the familiar problems associated with the incessant clashes to include obstruction of traditional migration routes, crop damaged, livestock theft, land occupation, and water.
“Farmers live us, live off the proceeds of our farms and a situation where armed herders invade and destroy our crops leaves the people in great difficulty. This negates the government’s efforts at poverty alleviation and grassroots mobilization. The conflict has inflicted pains on most farmers even as farm produce has been drastically affected and we are calling for an end to it. The president must rise to the occasion and end the wanton loss of lives and property as a result of these clashes,” the traditional ruler demanded.
Igwe Onyekwere further advocated ranching as the panacea to the conflicts as according to him, the nomadic pattern of cattle rearing has proved to be responsible for the clashes.
“With ranching, farmers can do their agricultural activities and the herders can also do their cattle rearing without any problems. The farmers can even grow fodder for feeding cattle and other livestock and sell to the herders. The herders, in turn, will grow their cattle and sell both meat and milk to the farmers and others. This way, it is a win-win situation for everybody and strife is gone. The government must place value on human life and take urgent steps to safeguard the lives of the people,” the owelle paramount ruler maintained.