The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has banned night grazing and armed herdsmen in the state just as he set up a seven-man committee in each of the 18 local government areas to check herdsmen, farmers’ clashes.
The seven-man committee will include the chairmen or heads of the LGAs, the Divisional Police Officers, representatives of the Department of State Services and four representatives from the communities in the state.
Obaseki, who presided over a stakeholders’ meeting with the Seriki Hausa/Fulani leaders from the 18 LGAs in the state, on Thursday, charged the committee to “review all cases of herdsmen/farmers’ clashes in all the local government areas.”
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 in possession of firearms will be arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms as cattle rearers do not need an AK47 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.”
Obaseki added that another committee that he would head would have the state Commissioner of Police, the Director of the DSS in the state, the Commander of 4 Brigade and representatives of the communities across the three senatorial districts in the state as members.
He noted, “Every three months we will meet with the representatives of the local government committees to review and examine the progress being made in resolving the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes in the state.”
The Chairman, Edo State Hausa Community, Alhaji Badamasi Saleh, advised that a mechanism should be put in place to protect informants 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.”
Alhaji Usman Abdullahi, representing the Hausa/Fulani community in Edo Central Senatorial District, pledged that his people would cooperate with the state government and work with the security agencies in the state to fish out criminals among his people.