Abakaliki — Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday warned that the excesses of open grazing, movements and brazen destruction of farmlands by Fulani herdsmen in the state would no longer be tolerated, stressing that the state would embark on biometric registration of all herdsmen in the state.
The governor lamented how his movement was blocked by the herders with their cattle on his way to the village, saying that such development depicts grave danger to the country.
He stressed that no new herdsmen would be allowed to enter the state, while those already resident would be registered for proper identification.
The governor frowned at the level of destructions of food crops and farmlands by the cattle and the impunity with which the herders move with it around all the communities in the state.
Speaking before the 2018 maiden executive council meeting in Abakaliki, the governor said he would have serious meeting with traditional rulers, council chairmen, herdsmen and security agencies next Monday to fashion out ways of coordinating the activities of herdsmen in the state.
He noted that the registration and meeting with stakeholders would be to forestall any attempt of new herdsmen coming to the state as a result of the crises in other states of the federation, stressing that no other herdsmen would be all own into the state.
Umahi said: "We will register them and know where they are so that if anybody is expanding them, we will say no that you can't expand. Everywhere you, you see cattle. Far away in my village, you see cattle stopping the movement of a sitting governor. What kind of country is that? So we can't tolerate that again, neither shall we say that herdsmen that have lived here for more than 16 years to vamoose. No. They cannot.
"There's rice husk everywhere and we said that we can open boreholes for you and your cattle and it's your duty to replace it. Look at Ezillo rice farm, we were told that thousands of cattle went there and finished all the rice. The same thing in Izzi, Ivo, Afikpo North. We cannot fold our hands and allow that to happen, neither shall we take laws into our hands. We shall revisit our laws."
"We will have a serious meeting on Monday with traditional rulers, council chairmen, herdsmen and security agencies. We will know how to engage those that don't have work into agriculture. Now, there's problem in Benue and Taraba States, no herdsmen should think of coming to Ebonyi State, Umahi warned.