The request by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, to allow them form vigilantes in all parts of Igboland has been generating reactions and one of the governors from the South East, the Governor of Abia State, Victor Ikpeazu has made it clear that “Fulani herdsmen will not be part of any security arrangement in Abia State.”
The Governor stressed that “such strategy could work elsewhere but not in Abia State.” According to the Gov. Ikpeazu, Abia State have their own plans on how to engage the herdsmen in that state and this plan doesn’t in any way include having the herdsmen as vigilantes in the state.
“We have our own plans which we will be willing to share with other people if they are interested. Our plans do not have provision for Herdsmen as Vigilantes.
“One of the reasons why we have no instances of Herders-Farmers clash in Abia State is because we adopted an innovative and unique strategy which takes a human view of the situation.
“I spent seven years in the north as an undergraduate and postgraduate student, and I have a fair idea of how the average Fulani behaves and thinks.
“One thing we have done in Abia is to set up Mediation Committees at the State and Local Government levels. When cows destroy crops, the cows don’t know the difference between cash crops and normal grass. Someone must take responsibility. I have mandated the mediation committee to investigate real cases of destruction of farmlands and even, the killing of cows and when such instances are confirmed, I choose to pay either the owner of the farm or the cow owner as the case maybe. I prefer to pay for two cows to losing any life.
“One human life is more expensive than all the cows put together. However, our major emphasis is on ensuring peaceful coexistence amongst all those concerned. This is why we hear little about clashes in Abja State.
“There are herdsmen in Abia but we have managed to create a template that ensures peace” he concluded.