Enugu — The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, at the weekend in Enugu insisted that confrontations would not solve the problems posed by the persistent clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.
He rather advocated a better understanding between herdsmen and farmers in order to ensure adequate protection of lives and property of both.
Ekweremadu who spoke in response to complaints by farmers over the destruction of their farms by cows while inspecting construction work on the Imuno Bridge in Amakofa community in Aninri Local Government Area, lamented the increasing loss of lives as a result of the rancorous misunderstanding between them.
He said an engagement between both sides was necessary to ensure that neither side becomes a threat to the other in the course of carrying out their activities.
"I also want to appeal to our herdsmen to ensure that in the process of grazing their cows, they avoid peoples farms because as you can see here, there are cows there and you can also see peoples farms and the tendency is that these cows will now feed on the farmers crops and that is one of the things that trigger crisis. It is important that they are made to understand that just as they are entitled to their cows, the farmers are also entitled to their farms and the products therein and so none should be a threat to the other.
"I hope that what we are seeing here will not be a source of concern within this community. There should be a way of engaging the herdsmen to ensure that they don't graze on peoples farms and then for the villagers to also ensure that the herdsmen are not harassed unduly. There is need for everybody to live peacefully with one another if we must progress as a nation," he said.
Ekweremadu who inspected other projects he has attracted in Enugu west senatorial zone, highlighted the importance of rural access roads which he said would facilitate the agricultural expansion scheme of both the state and federal governments and reduce unemployment and poverty which he described as the greatest challenge facing the Nigeria today.
He said solving unemployment and poverty would reduce the nation's woes by fifty percent.
"The federal government and indeed the state government are minded to begin to improve our revenue base and expand our economy and one of the areas of the expansion is the agricultural sector.
"So that is our strategy to deal with the issue of unemployment and poverty in his constituency. As long as these works are going on, some people will feed on it and ones it is completed it becomes an economic corridor; people can also go to their farm and put up some industries and more people will be employed. Our contribution to this is to open up the hinter land for access to our farms and this bridge will open up access to the vast farmland around here for our farmers to do more expansive farming on a commercial level. We have a host of such other projects including rural access roads nearing completion that will help to open up new economic corridors for our people and this will only be possible in an atmosphere of peace as we currently enjoy in the state," he said.