Herders/Farmers Clashes: Umahi Sues for Peace, National Unity

By Ewa Innocent, Abakaliki

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state has appealed to Nigerians to always show good understanding for national unity to prevail, noting that life was all about living and letting others live.

Umahi made the appeal during a meeting between the leadership of Miyetti Allah breeders Association of Nigeria(MACBAN),and the stakeholders of the state, held at Akanu Ibiam International Conference Center, Abakaliki.

The meeting which was fully attended by the Founding fathers of the state, traditional rulers, Council Chairmen, Religious body, (CAN), Service Chiefs, Town Union Presidents and members of the State Executive Council among others,discussed issues of conflicts between farmers and herders in the state.

Governor Umahi who, however, commended the present leadership of Miyetti Allah for their peaceful disposition in promoting the unity of the country, gave highlights of the earlier agreement reached between the herdsmen and farmers in the state, insisting that the agreement should still be sustained.

The governor said that he was a ‘happier’ person with the outcome of the meeting because ‘it is always good to hear the other side of the story’.

“Those who don’t wish us well do not believe that anything good can come from Miyetti Allah but I have always said that in every society, you have the good and the bad.

 “They are at home with their people, have worked so hard, don’t double- talk and what they tell you here is what they will say in Aso Rock, Kaduna and anywhere,” he said.

He further noted that, “There are some of you who have houses outside this country and if you know that you or your children live outside your native land, there is a need to reflect on national unity

“I believe and I insist that if I go to live in Zamfara state for instance, I must obey the laws of the land, I must respect the culture of the people and the same thing to any body coming to live in Ebonyi state.

“It is only by obeying the law of the land and respecting the culture of the people that people will accord you your own respect. The people will also be free with you,the people will not suspect you,and that will also add to the nation building.

“The point jotted down and made by him,(referring to national president of Miyetti Allah),and our previous agreement will stand for our communique. 

“So we are not going to present any other communique because we already have a good understanding.

“We will not tolerate arrogance, where you are a community leader, your people kill a cow and we agree on what to pay on the cow and you refuse to pay.

“We will not allow herdsmen cattle destroy farm crops and we agree on what to pay and he refuses to pay”, he said.

MACBAN National Secretary, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, who was full of thanks to governor David Umahi for convening the peace meeting, assured that the Association would redouble its efforts to ensure that herders in the state continue to live in peace with their host communities.

 “The pastoralists who kill must also be arrested and face prosecution as this is the only way we can solve this problem with positive reports already coming from our members.

“In Ebonyi state,honestly,we should appreciate God for having His Excellency as the governor of the state,because,if you read the papers,you will see things that are happening in other states and you will realise what I have said,that we are lucky for having Engr. David Umahi,as the governor of Ebonyi state.

“Because he has concern for everybody. He gives to everybody what is due to that person. This is the only state I know in Nigeria that is most peaceful when it comes to farmers/herders clash.

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