We pay N100,000 to farmers, herders to forestall crisis – Ikpeazu
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has said most of those who attack farmers and destroy farmlands are infiltrators masquerading as herders.
Ikpeazu noted that these infiltrators oftentimes have no herd of cattle adding their mission is to perpetrate crimes and create the impression that the usual herders who are on their legitimate businesses are responsible.
The governor made this known while featuring on Channels Television’s programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Wednesday.
Ikpeazu also revealed the secret behind low incidence of farmer-herder conflicts in his state.
He said there is a vibrant mechanism in place in the state which ensures that a sum of N100,000 is paid as compensation for any cow killed and farmland destroyed in conflicts between farmers and herders.
The governor stressed the mechanism is to forestall incessant clashes between the two parties.
He said, “Before now, Abia has not been on the front burner regarding this herders and farmers conflict. The reason is that we have a strong mechanism through which we deal with the normal and usual cattle herders.
“I give you an example, we have what we call Farmer-herder Conflict Resolution Committee from the state where the CP is chairman, to the local governments where the executive chairmen of various local governments chair.”
The Governor said the members of the committee include the “Miyetti Allah, the DSS and the DPO of the various local governments.”
He continued, “We pay compensation of about N100,000 for any cow that is killed on account of a misunderstanding between the farmers and the herders. And we pay compensation of same amount of money for farmlands verified to have been trampled or destroyed by strayed cows.
“We have used that to make sure that at least we give some succour and buffer to frayed nerves so that when people disagree, they can wait for that committee to look into the matter before taking law into their hands.
“That is not to say that we have not experienced a spike regarding these criminal elements that come in and abduct, rape, destroy and kill farmers. More often than not, some of these criminal elements don’t even have a cow. They are just infiltrators and they use the cloak or what they perceive as some sort of protection for the herders that seems to be the body language at the centre to commit their crime and get away with it.”
Ikpeazu, however, said the infiltrators are now taking advantage of the hospitality and congenial atmosphere of the state to wreak havoc recently.
“They are taking advantage of this good nature to unleash mayhem. We have noticed that and we are on their trail and we are targeting those people,” he said.