The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has said the state government pays herders N100,000 for each cow killed during farmers-herders clashes in the state.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Ikpeazu, disclosed this and added that the same amount is paid to farmers whose farms are destroyed by stray cows.
The governor said the initiative is meant to gain the trust of the people and prevent them from taking the law into their own hands.
Asked what the state government is doing to enforce the law against open grazing, Ikpeazu said: ”We have a strong mechanism with which we deal with the normal and usual cattle herders. We have what we call farmer/herder conflict resolution committee from the state where the CP is chairman to the local governments where the executive chairmen of various local governments chair, and members of that committee include the Miyetti Allah, the DSS and DPO of the various local governments up until the state.
“And we pay compensation of about N100,000 for any cow that is killed on account of a misunderstanding between the farmers and the herders and pay the same amount for farmland verified to have been trampled on or destroyed by stray cows.
“We have used that to make sure that at least, we give some succour and buffer so that when people disagree, they can wait for that committee to look into the matter instead of taking the law into their own hands. But that is not to say that we have not recorded a spike in the activities of these criminal elements that come to kidnap, rape and kill farmers. More often than not, some of these criminal elements don’t even have a cow. We are targeting those people and we are going to punish them.”
The governor said the best way to solve the issue of farmer/herder crisis is for the Nigerian government to tackle the root cause of the problem.
“Nigeria is not diagnosing the problem properly. The problems we face in this country are existential,” he said.
The state government had earlier accused herders of kidnapping citizens of the state and of destroying farmlands with cows grazing openly.
Despite banning open grazing in June 2018, herdsmen have reportedly continued to violate the law in the state.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had on Tuesday issued a 14-day ultimatum to South-East governors to enforce the anti-grazing law.
IPOB said it would not tolerate killings by herdsmen, adding that the security outfit would commence enforcement of anti-grazing law in two weeks.
The group said those who violate the law will “witness the type of madness you never knew existed”.
“If you are one of the #Zoo animals suffering from an advanced form of Stockholm syndrome, may it kill you there. We in the East are not, have never been and can never be slaves to any bunch of retards. Ask the British,” Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader said in a statement.
“We won’t tolerate any iota of killer Fulani herdsmen menace in the East. You may be comfortable with your wretched Fulanised existence where you are but we won’t live with that rubbish in the land of the Rising Sun. Where were you when our people were being slaughtered, raped and kidnapped in Isiukwuato?
“In less than two weeks, #ESN will commence the full enforcement of Nigeria’s Anti-Grazing Law in the East. Turn into a cow then and see what shall become of you. You are about to understand how determined we are. You have the temerity to talk about monopoly of violence?
“The era of Biafrans crying and lamenting to EU and UN has come and gone. The Dragon Flag has been raised! If you don’t know what it means, go and ask. Yap all you like, there is no going back. You #Zoo animals are about to witness the type of madness you never knew existed.”
Operatives of IPOB’ Eastern Security Network on Sunday invaded the camp of Fulani herdsmen in Isiukwuato, a town in Abia, chasing them away and killing dozens of their cows.
In a video seen by SaharaReporters, the ESN operatives were seen burning houses and cows allegedly belonging to the herdsmen.
A lady was also heard in the video accusing the Fulani of being behind the rising insecurity in the Eastern region.
“We are here to tell these idiots, these stupid Fulani that this place is not for them, they must leave our land. We are formidable, we have dealt with them, their cows are dead, we have chased them away,” she said.
“They should leave our land, there is no place for them. We cannot allow you to stay in our land, you kill our people, you rape our women, you think you will go scot free, there is no place for you. These are their houses, we are setting fire to them. They should leave our land.”