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Herdsmen Crisis: Kogi Community Interface Miyetti Allah

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By OMONU YAX-NELSON,

In a bid to stem the recurrent herdsmen menace in Oganenigu Community,
Dekina Local Government area of Kogi State, a delegation led by the
Senior Special Adviser, SSA, to Gov Yahaya Bello on Emergency
Management, Ocholi Yakubu has paid a visit on the National
headquarters of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria,
MACBAN, in Abuja.

While intimating Baba Usman Ngelzarma, MACBAN Secretary General of the
purpose of their visit, Mr YAKUBU said, the team was at MACBAN as part
of the community’s ongoing efforts at finding lasting solution to the
perennial herdsmen Crisis in the community.

“We are here as part of the very many peace moves Oganenigu Community
is making to ensure amicable resolution to the herdsmen crisis. This
has become very pertinent because Oganenigu is a farming community.
For as long as the crisis persists, the farmers cannot go to the farm.
We fear this is already creating a famine situation in our community.”

Another member of the delegation, Hon Umar Edibo reiterated the need
for ‘urgent’ peaceful negotiation, so that the crisis will be quickly
resolved because, the crisis is taking its toll on the people of the
community.

“The community has exhausted every known peace initiatives available
to it, aimed at reaching amicable solution to the crisis. Hence, the
decision to turn to the umbrella body of cattle Breeders in Nigeria as
a last resort.”

Reacting to the delegation’s peace initiatives, the Secretary General
of MACBAN, Ngelzarma thanked the delegation and people of the
community at large for embracing ‘peace option,’ instead of taking law
into their hands.

He attributed the increasing spate of herdsmen-farmers crisis to
criminality by cattle rustlers, who he said, go around causing crisis
between genuine herdsmen and farmers.

“The influx of foreign herdsmen into Nigeria under the cover of ECOWAS
free movement policy has compounded the whole crisis. However, we will
adopt the Katsina and Zamfara model, where relative peace has been
achieved to the Kogi crisis. The criminals in Zamfara and Katsina has
been rehabilitated and joint security vigilante are in charge of
security in those area.”

He stressed further that, as part of interim measure to allow farmers
go back to their farms, MACBAN will liaise with the Association’s
Dekina local government caretaker committee chairman to immediately
call for the meeting of Traditional rulers, leaders of herdsmen,
Police, DSS and farmers in the area to ensure immediate ceasefire is
achieved.

As part of a long term solution, Ngelzarma suggested that the leader
of the delegation, should collaborate with the Caretaker chairman of
the Local Government, the Police, SSS and Traditional institutions in
the area to convene stakeholders security meeting, where all the
warring parties will have opportunity to ventilate their grievances,
so that middle grounds can be achieved.

Proving background to the crisis, Oganenigu Youth Leader, Yakubu Aliyu
revealed that the community have lived in peace with herdsmen from
time immemorial until late 2015, when the crisis in Agatu, Abejukolo
and Agojeju started spilling over to Oganenigu community.

“Some of the herdsmen fleeing the crisis in Agatu and other troubled
areas took refuge in our community. The people from these areas came
for reprisal attacks and in the process, three herdsmen were killed.
Since then, the community has known peace.” He said.

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