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How I’ve been managing herdsmen, farmers’ clashes ―Okowa

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GOVERNOR of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has explained how he’s been managing the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in various parts of the state while waiting for the Federal Government’s lasting solution.

Okowa gave the explanation on Saturday while featuring on The Platform, a programme anchored by Sam Omatseye on TVC, Lagos.

“It is a huge problem. It is there in almost all the states of the country. It is very worrisome.

“I hope the Federal government would come out with a policy plan on how to tackle this strongly.

“I know that they set up a committee of some governors and the Vice President with a view to proffering a solution.

“And we hope that solution comes in as quickly as possible because it is a huge problem that creates not only insecurity but affects also the economy of poor Nigerians, as you find the animals destroying peoples cassava, destroying yams and other forms of farm produce,” he noted.

He listed some of the measures adopted in the state to curb the incidence of herdsmen/farmers clashes in the state.

“In Delta State, we have been working hard with the Police. We have also created an office to manage conflict, I have a Special Adviser on Conflict Resolution, I also have two other appointees, who work very closely with me and who are specifically detailed to manage herdsmen/farmers challenge.

“One of them is a Northerner, the other one is a Deltan who was brought up in the North and speaks Hausa fluently. “And to that extent, we have been able to minimize, though we still have occasional clashes.

“We have also involved the traditional rulers, to try and advise them. We have held two sets of meetings with the traditional institution and the farmers themselves and representatives of Miyetti Allah.

“We held a meeting early last year and we held one two weeks ago. We have also gone ahead to constitute a committee at the local government level which involves the local government councils, Police at the local government level, traditional rulers, Miyetti Allah and some opinion leaders in every local government area to try to handle such issues. But all these we are doing are mere palliatives.

“There has to be a direction because people cannot just continue to migrate continuously and probably aimlessly into peoples’ farms because that’s not the original intent.

“It is different if the cattle were moving and grazing on grass and not on the legitimate efforts and produce of people. But the situation has changed. Obviously, that is not acceptable and all over the country there has been a lot of cries,” the governor stated.

Okowa, however, reiterated his earlier stance that there is no land in Delta State for Cattle Colonies.

“Ideally, it is for them to have ranches. There have been cattle ranches in the Mambila area for some time. So why can’t they do ranches?

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“And for those who have plenty of lands and want colonies, we have nothing against it. But for us in Delta State and for most of the South-South, I do know, we have limited land for agriculture and therefore it is difficult for us to be able to relinquish such land to cattle colonies.

“Obviously we have a lot of water and waterlogged land in our area, most of the available land has been degraded as a result of oil exploration activities and the little that is left is being used for agriculture and we hope that a solution would be found soon,” he averred.

Meanwhile, the surgeon-turned politician has urged the Federal Government to expedite action on plans to do more in arresting the menace of herdsmen/farmers clashes in the country before it goes out of proportion.

The post How I’ve been managing herdsmen, farmers’ clashes ―Okowa appeared first on Tribune.

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