8 February 2018

Nigeria: Edo Bans Night-Grazing, Carrying of Arm By Herders

The Edo State Government has banned night grazing and the carrying of guns by herders in the state. It has also set up a seven-member committee in each of the local government areas in the state to check clashes between herders and farmers.

According to a statement on Thursday by the spokesperson to the governor, Crusoe Osagie, the committees will include the chairpersons or heads of the LGAs, the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), representatives of State Security Service and four representatives of communities.

These decisions were announced after a meeting of Governor Godwin Obaseki with heads of Hausa/Fulani communities from the 18 LGAs in the state.

Mr. Obasaki said the state government would release the report of clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state to the committees for review.

"The committees will ensure the registration of all the Seriki Fulani in every community across all the local government areas and the Seriki Fulani will liaise with everyone rearing cattle in the area."

According to the governor, another committee to be headed by him will include the State Commissioner of Police, the Director of the State Security Service in the state, the Commander of 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army and other members drawn from communities across the three senatorial districts of the state.

"Every three months, we will meet with representatives of the local government committees to review and examine the progress being made in resolving the herdsmen/farmers' clashes in the state," the governor said.

"A special team made up of the Police, Army, Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies in the state will carry out random patrols and search operations. Any herdsman found possessing firearms will be arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms as a cattle rearer does not need an AK 47 to herd cattle.

"We will not accept anyone with firearms and anyone found with arms will face the law. We need information to succeed in this fight and information is vital to the police and other security agencies. We assure you of your safety.

"We have placed a ban on night herding; nobody should herd their cattle at night. We have also placed a ban on hunting activities by people from other states in the name of hunting," Mr. Obaseki said.

The Chairman of the Hausa Community in the state, Badamasi Saleh, requested for protection of "sources of security information, as most members of the communities find it difficult to volunteer information to the security agencies as they fear that their identities would not be protected."

Usman Abdullahi, representing the Hausa/Fulani community in Edo Central Senatorial District, pledged the cooperation of his people with the state security agencies "to fish out any member of their communities who engages in criminal activities."

L-R: Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kabiru Adjoto; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; and the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, during a stakeholders' meeting with officials of state government, security agencies and leaders of the Hausa/Fulani communities in Edo State, at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State, on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Abdulkareem Ibraheem, representing the Hausa/Fulani communities in Edo South, urged the state government to provide the necessary logistics that will aid the task of the monitoring committees in the various local government areas.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Johnson Kokumo, thanked members of the Hausa/Fulani community and assured that with their support, clashes between herdsmen and farmers would be checked in the state.

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