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Farmers, Herdsmen Reach Truce over Clashes in Benue


Chairman of the sub technical committee of the National Economic Council Committee mediating between farmers and herdsmen, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, said Tuesday, that herdsmen in Benue State have agreed to lay down their arms and abide by the provisions of the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition Law.
The Governor said the position was reached at the end of the meeting by the herdsmen, stakeholders and Governors of Benue and Nasarawa states with members of the Committee mediating in the herdsmen and farmers crisis in Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba States.
Addressing the media, yesterday, at the end of its assignment in Makurdi, Governor Umahi said the team had successful meetings with all the parties in Benue and Nasarawa States .
Briefing reporters on the outcome of the decisions reached at the end of the mediation talks, Governor Umahi said: “We observed that all the parties are willing to make peace and we are looking at the conditions and suggestions of the various groups handed over to us as the way forward to having peace.
“From discussions, it was agreed by the parties that Benue State has the right to make laws and that individuals or group of people that are in the state have a duty to obey the law.
“They also have a duty to meet with the authorities of the law to dialogue on any section of the law that they believe will not favour them.
“We have agreed, from all parties to this unfortunate matter, that we will pursue peace, disarm any group that is harbouring militia and support the security chiefs to arrest anyone found with illegal weapons.
“The security people have also vowed that inline with the directive they have, anybody with illegal weapon must be arrested, no matter who the person is.
“The cheering news is that the herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states are willing to abide by the Open Grazing Prohibition Law of Benue State but they would need more time for ranching and support from the Federal Government to move into grazing reserves.”
He said: “We as a committee noted that there are over two million hectares of land across 19 northern Nigeria and over one million of them have been already gazetted as grazing reserve and this one million is already developed.
“There is a place in Gombe State that about 375 hectares are developed as grazing reserve. We have 74,000 hactare in Kaduna and there is another location that has over 150,000 hectares of land that have already been developed.”
Umahi said there was need for the Federal Government to help in the development of grazing reserves and to start seeing animal husbandry as economic venture by giving soft loans to owners.

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