The National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday agreed to stop movement of herdsmen in the country, starting with the five mostly affected states of Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna and Plateau.
“Today, NEC took briefing from the same NEC technical committee on the farmers and herdsmen conflicts in the various states of the federation, said Governor Umahi, at the end of the NEC meeting held at the presidential Villa Abuja.
“NEC sometimes this year came up with a committee, being disturbed by the constant conflicts between herdsmen and farmers. They came up with the committee of nine Governors with the VP as the Chairman, and the committee went into deliberations. After a couple of meetings, they decided that the most five affected states should be visited. So, they came up with a sub-technical committee of three governors, chaired by governor of Ebonyi state, with the governor’s of Plateau, Adamawa as members, he said.
“We were constituted to visit the five core states. Later other states like Plateau and Kaduna states were also added. But we were able to visit only five states such as Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba,Jigawa and Zamfara states.
“The core causes of the conflicts we were made to understand were ; perception and of course our media friends, competition for scares resources and banditry or what you can call pure criminal activities through cattle rustling, kidnapping etc.
“Today, we look at three categories of herdsmen in Nigeria. We look at the foreign herdsmen that come in due to the treaty and we continue to say that the treaty is not being properly implemented. For any herdsman to come into Nigeria from outside, there should be a kind of certification, there must be a letter, even though you are not coming in with a Visa, you have to travel with ECOWAS documentation. Animals that are coming into the country are required to be quarantined, but this is not being done. So, this is one category of them. Secondly, we have the nomadic herdsmen, who during the dry season, travel from up north to the middle belt down to the South. This crest conflicts . Also foreign herdsmen coming all through the way from neighbouring countries and traveling through the farm lands also cause conflicts. Then of course, we have the migrant herdsmen who migrate for a very long time and settle with the villagers and even inter marry with them.
“These are the three categories we have in Nigeria. In all, we agree that movement is not either profitable to the herdsmen because they value the milk from the cow even more than the cow itself. So, the movement is not healthy for the cows as it dries up the meat and give less than two liters of milk per cow per day.
“So, we condemn the issues of foreign invasion by foreign herdsmen and l am happy that the FG is doing something about it.”
The NEC comprises state governors and relevant ministries of government and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He disclosed that foreign herdsmen would expected to show some travel documents, even though visa is not allowed for movement of West Africans.