Following the directive of the two state Governors of Ebonyi and Cross River States that Fulani herdsmen living within warring border communities to vacate the land, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Internal Security, Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Hon. Stanley Okoro Emegha, on Saturday 7 March, 2020, issued 7 days ultimatum to herdsmen still living within the area earlier declared as Buffa Zones to leave the place or face the consequences.
Addressing newsmen in Abakaliki shortly after their monthly meeting, the Hon. Commissioner stated that the decision was taken due to reports from indigenes of the border communities who claimed that the continued pastoral activities within the area has become a serious threat to the people, pointing out that if the alleged set of herdsmen failed to leave the zone, they would face government action.
He noted that the Buffa Zones remains unsafe for herders’ movement until peace permanently returns to the communities where communal crises were rife.
He said the action would serve as a way of checkmating the activities of the residents who were directed to sheath their swords after several months of communal war between border communities of Ebonyi and Cross River States.
He maintained that the orders were in the best interest of Fulani herders should anything bad happen to their men by avoiding pointing accusing finger on Ebonyi communities if any of the sides breach the peace accord.
According to Hon. Emegha, “We meet today to interface with the leaders of Fulani herdsmen in the state. Also present were the Development Centre Coordinators and Community Leaders to know the challenges facing the herdsmen while we present our own from various communities and local government areas”.
“Before now, directive was issued by the two state Governors of Ebonyi and Cross River that no herdsman should graze at the Buffa Zones, but until today, one Alhaji Ado has been proving stubborn which prompted my office to issue the 7 days ultimatum ordering him to vacate the area or face the consequences; because whatever thing that happened to his herds it will trigger renewal of the crises within the area as the sister community of Cross River will be appointing accusing finger on Ebonyi people while our people will be accusing the Cross Riverians and we don’t want that.
“Though, their leaders have promised to invite him to Abakaliki for a talk but our directive is that all pastoral activities be seized from the warring communities in their own best interest.
“As for our people, we should accommodate them knowing fully that our brothers and sisters are doing businesses in different parts of the country but not to our detriment because we specialized in crop farming and will not like our source of livelihood to be threatened, but we are calling them to remain law abiding.
Speaking, the state Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, Ebonyi State Chapter, Alhaji Usman Ishiaku, commended the Ebonyi State government and the Commissioner for the cordial relationship existing between the two parties and assured him that they would remain law abiding.
He explained that leaders of Fulani herdsmen are ready to constitute a committee in the 13 LGA of the state with chairmen and coordinators as members in order to ensure peace is established in all council areas.
He appealed to their youths in the state not to take laws into their hands by attacking farmers, even as he warned herders to stay away from farmlands.
The state chairman also assured the Internal Security Commissioner that with the presence of the Fulani Leaders that they would invite the eering members and ensure they vacate the war zones before their next meeting.
Lending his voice, Hon. Obiora Okwosi, Coordinator Ohaukwu Development Centre frowned at the ill manner of some herders in his area who take joy in using their cows to destroy people’s farmlands but was optimistic that if they could abide by the directive of the state government that the people would always accommodate them.
Our reporter observed that Fulani herdsmen leaders from different parts of the state were in the meeting, coordinators and community leaders.