Senate plans national summit on farmers/herders clash


The Senate has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to convene a national summit on herders/ farmers conflict in Nigeria.

This followed adoption of a motion on matter of urgent importance on the “Urgent Need for Rehabilitation of Agojeju Odo,Ajokpachi, Bagaji, and Bagana Communities in Omala of Kogi following gunmen attack, by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) at Tuesday’s plenary.

Presenting the motion, Jibrin, said the area had been under recurring attacks by gunmen, leading to killings,   destruction of property  and farmlands.

He said the attacks and killings had rendered many homeless with no means of sustenance.

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He said it was worrisome that Agojeju Odo, Ajokpachi Odo, Bagaji, and Bagana communities had  been ravaged recently by gunmen, rendering over 30,000 inhabitants of the communities homeless and leading to exodus of the people to other parts of the state.

He said on April 5, gunmen allegedly invaded Agojeju Odo, Ajokpachi Odo, Bagaji and Bagana communities, killing 21 innocent residents, including women and children, in addition to unprecedented destruction of their farm produce.

“Alarmed that on April 30, gunmen attacked Ajokpachi Odo community in Omala LGA, killing no fewer than three persons and rendering the entire community desolate, with no health facility to cater for the deteriorating health conditions of the survivors.

He said the attacks had resulted in the killings of over 500 residents,  in addition to wanton destruction of public and private property worth hundreds of millions of naira.

“The displaced persons have resolved to return to their ancestral homes but cannot afford shelters and have no means of sustenance,” he said.

He also expressed worry that educational institutions in the communities had been destroyed, with many buildings and other facilities completely burnt down, thereby making it absolutely difficult for the children of the affected communities to access educational facilities.

He expressed sadness that apart from destruction of schools, health centres were obviously non-existent to cater for the health needs of the affected communities as the few hitherto existing ones had  been lost to the hostilities.

This, he said, had increased the rate of mortality in the affected communities.

Jibrin said markets, business centres, shops and various business outfits in the affected communities had been completely destroyed.

This, he said,  had resulted in an atmosphere of inevitable economic helplessness.

Contributing, Sen.Victor Umeh (LP – Anambra) said the nation was yet to curb the problem of attacks in communities.

“The attackers have no right to ravage any community, saying that actions should be taken for ranching of cattles in the country.

“We must find a way of banning migrant grazing and apprehend and prosecute  killers.”

Sen.Adams Oshiomhole (APC -Edo) called for  an ad hoc committee to organise public hearing to find a lasting solution to issue of farmers/herders conflict.

Sen.Titus Zam (APC-Benue)said the farmers / herders conflict had defiled all solutions, advising that senate should enact an open grazing prohibition law.

This, he said, would deter open grazing and encourage ranching of cattles.
The Senate observed a minute silence for the departed souls in the communities.(NAN)

By Kingsley Okoye

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