Governors to herdsmen: Stop occupying farmlands

By Daniel Tyokua

The governors of Benue and Nasarawa states, Samuel Ortom and Abdullahi Sule have directed Fulani herdsmen in those areas to refrain from trespassing and occupying farmlands and the communities of disputed border towns.

They urged farmers and herdsmen in the two states not to take the law into their hands at the slightest provocation.

In a Communiqué signed by the governors and made available to journalists at the end of the joint peace and security meeting of the two states held on Wednesday at Yelewata, a border town in Benue state, said there was the need for both groups to obey the laws.

The meeting resolved that as part of efforts that would bring about peace in the affected areas, The Deputy Governors of the two states and National Boundary Commission should speedily work towards concluding the demarcation of the borders between the two states so as to address the lingering crisis between the Alago, Tiv and the Fulani from both states.

According to the communique, “Fulani herdsmen should refrain from trespassing and occupying farm lands and communities at the disputed border areas for now until the boundary lines between Benue and Nasarawa states are clearly demarcated by the NBC.

“Farmers and herdsmen should also refrain from taking laws into their hands at the slightest provocation; they should endeavor to report any trespass or breach of their rights to the constituted authority nearest to them.

“Security agencies (are) to intensify surveillance and patrol activities in their border areas and both states should jointly employ the use of Community Policing to stop the menace of herdsmen attack and inter border banditry activities.”

While, the Benue State Livestock Guards were also warned not to cross into Nasarawa state while performing its assignment, border communities were urged to identify perpetrators, sponsors/financiers of criminal activities and report them to security agencies.

The states appreciated the efforts of traditional rulers and
community leaders in conflict resolution among warring parties within and among communities of the two states.

Governor Ortom and his Nasarawa state counterpart, Abdullahi Sule also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up a special task force on security to complement the efforts of the regular security agencies in combating crimes in the North Central zone.

Also in attendance were the Deputy Governors as well as Secretary to the Government of both states.

Others are members of the State Executive and Security Councils, top Government functionaries, members of the State House of Assembly, traditional rulers as well as community leaders of the two states among others.

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