From Nick Yashi, Jalingo
The sub-technical committee on Farmers/Herdsmen clashes, headed by Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, had after a 14-hour meeting spanning three days with stakeholders, disclosed that an agreement was reached for a cessation of hostilities between the parties, even as it was able to make some observations and recommendations pertaining to the lingering crises in Taraba State.
The sub-committee was part of the main committee earlier set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to find a way of resolving the crises between farmers and herdsmen in the affected states.
The committee which began its mission on 19 February in Jalingo, met with various stakeholders in the crises which include: farmers, herdsmen under the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), politicians, council chairmen, traditional rulers, youth, tribal and religious associations among others and at the end of the day, made certain observations and recommendations that would bring an end to the crises.
According to the observations, as read to newsmen after the meeting, the Mambilla crises was quite distinct from the clashes between farmers and herdsmen and that the “herdsmen at Mambilla refused to come to state their own side of the story”.
Other observations were that the “herdsmen refused to appear before the public hearing to give their own views to protect their interest…It was also agreed that any state of the federation has the constitutional powers and rights to make her own laws including Taraba State. Individuals or groups must obey the laws of the State whether they like the Law or not but can always see the authority to complain about any section(s) of the Law that will infringe on his rights or go to court especially where such persons or person failed to attend public hearing”.
It was further observed that 95 per cent of the crises in the State are being instigated from outside the State and that before the Law on grazing, there were so many crises. It was agreed that certain sections of the Law be revisited by the Taraba government so that the fears of the herdsmen will be addressed.
As par the recommendations, the committee reached that: “All cases in court should be suspended to allow the peace committee conclude their work” and a six-month moratorium be given before the operation of the Law to allow for the herdsmen to key into the programmes. All parties have also agreed to “embrace new/modern ways of livestock production with the aid of the State and federal government”.
Ultimately, “all parties have agreed that there will be more killings, clashes, violence…” The statement read.
Meanwhile, a committee would be set up within the next two weeks to discuss all recommendations, perceptions and fears of all the parties and resolve same. The members would be made up of farmers groups, traditional rulers, Miyetti Allah, other tribes, government, stakeholders, Attorney General of the State among others.