By Michael Egbejule
Benin City — Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has admonished farmers and residents not to be scared by the activities of herdsmen, saying his administration was very much on ground to check the menace.
Speaking yesterday in Benin City at a symposium organised by the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state and titled Sustainable agriculture as a panacea to herdsmen attack on arable crop farmers in Nigeria, the governor said his government had stepped up plans to tackle the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
He noted that the few bad eggs among the nomads were responsible for the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians, adding that not all herders were killers.
Obaseki said: "Not all herdsmen are killers. Some of them are doing genuine business. We should not allow the activities of the bad ones scare us from our farms.
"In every society, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. And there have always been Fulani herdsmen since we were kids. The variant is what we are seeing now."
Part of the plan, according to the governor, was the banning of night grazing and arms-carrying herdsmen in the state.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture, Mr. Joe Okojie, the governor disclosed that a seven-man committee, including divisional police officers (DPOs) and the Department of State Services (DSS) had been inaugurated across all of the state's 18 council areas to address the menace.
Earlier, the chairman of the chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu, noted: "If we must help government of the day to achieve its quest to diversify the economy through agriculture, then we must begin by first proffering solutions to the herdsmen attack on arable crop farmers."
The State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr. Amadin Osayande, said: "As offenders' custodian, we have no herder in our custody."
Describing himself as a part-time farmer, he expressed concern over the carrying of arms by herders, adding that "when there is food insecurity, there will be hunger."
Also, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Agharese Osifo, stressed that "Livestock Development Centre" should be correctly used by the Federal Government in its proposed cattle colony project.
According to him, colony should not be a sectional thing, as Nigeria remains a multi-ethnic nation.