Herdsmen-farmers clashes can cause civil war — Miyetti Allah President •Gov. Umahi concurs

National President of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State on Tuesday warned that the killing of innocent Nigerians occasioned by herdsmen/farmers clashes has the capacity of causing a civil war, if not properly addressed.

The duo explained that the issue needs cautious and diligent attention, and so called for caution in handling it.

They spoke at Government House, Abakaliki, during an enlarged security meeting over the recent herdsmen-villagers clash in Enyanwu Igwe, Igbeagu community of Izzi Local Government Area which left four persons dead with two others in critical conditions.

Umahi described the killings as unprovoked. He ordered the herdsmen around the area to leave the place for the attacked villagers to be talked to as to avoid reprisal attack.

The governor said he had engaged various measures to ensure that the aggrieved people of the area remained calm, noting that they are warriors and so could like to retaliate as against the wish of the government – at least for the fact that the herdsmen in the area had before now been peaceful.

His words: “It is unprovoked killings. Life is so sacred. You can’t kill people as if they are fowls. Izzi people are warriors; I physically held them not to go for retaliation. The herdsmen there in Izzi have to leave the place for now until I can calm everybody down.

The way we are going, it can provoke national war and it will not help anybody.  If there is reprisal attack, I will hold all the leaders squarely responsible, I will charge all of you for any reprisal attack.

“The life of every Ebonyian is very dear to me. God forbid, I can’t withstand where 76 people were killed like in Benue, I can’t withstand it. Some people may be fighting to die but we fight to live. Let’s use wisdom and handle the matter.

“This is a national problem; we don’t want our people to continue killed. We must use wisdom to handle this problem. It is very easy to say I want all the herdsmen to leave Ebonyi but there are lots of implications.”

Umahi regretted that agreement reached between the state and herdsmen in the area for peaceful co-existence have been destroyed.

“We banned under aged herders, we banned night grazing in the state. We have no grazing routes in Ebonyi which means that nobody has the right to carry cattle by route to Ebonyi state and we agreed on that.

We also agreed with the Herdsmen that the first offender must be prosecuted. We also said that no farmer should go to farm with gun and no herdsmen should rear cattle with gun or matchette, it is stick. We must abide by these rules,” the governor said.

While addressing Umahi, Alhaji Bodejo corroborated with the Governor that incident killings in the country can cause chaos in the country.

He said the state has been very accommodative to the herdsmen, warning that it should not be abused.

“Ebonyi State is very peaceful and it is accommodating to our members. It has been so accommodating to our members even more than some northern states of the federation and we condemn these killings in this state. There are minors and migrants who are causing these lots of problems.

“There are also criminals moving as cattle herders who are causing this havoc. The Chairmen of Miyetti Allah of various states in the South-East and South-South are all here and we are not happy with what happened, we condemn these killings in totality.

“Nigeria is confronted with so many security challenges and one of them is the unfortunate farmer/herder conflict. If this conflict is not resolved, it has the potential of throwing this country into unnecessary chaos,” he said.

Source News Express

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