The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has rejected the federal government’s proposed cattle colonies, saying his state will not cede land for it.
Mr. Okowa, during a meeting on Tuesday in Asaba with herdsmen, farmers, community leaders, and heads of security agencies in the state cited threat to peace and security, as well as the shortage of land, as the reason for the rejection of the proposal.
“The Nigerian Constitution does not allow anyone to graze on someone’s farm. It does not permit you to forcefully take over someone’s house,” Mr. Okowa was quoted by a Government House statement as having said in the meeting.
“We can co-exist as a people but, as we co-exist, there must be mutual respect for one another. Whoever you are, when you engage in crime, the law must take its course.
“Some of those who are looking after the cows are so young that most times they are not able to take decisions concerning the cows. And as long as they carry arms and ammunition, there are major security issues at stake,” he said.
The governor tasked the federal government to come up with a clear-cut policy direction on the issue, saying that the federal government, for instance, was unable to disarm herdsmen perpetuating crimes.
The governor directed the local government councils in the state to set up within the next one week an “interventionist” security committee as part of the interim measures to address the perennial clashes amongst herdsmen, farmers and host communities.
He urged the police and other security agencies to ensure justice for all and that they shouldn’t allow the communities to lose confidence in their abilities to check crimes, especially those committed by herdsmen.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Muhammada Mustapha, assured the people that their security would not be compromised.
Apart from Delta, other states which have rejected proposed cattle colonies include Ekiti, Benue and Taraba.
Katsina, where President Muhammadu Buhari comes from, Kano and Adamawa state have allocated lands for it.
The federal government came up with the idea of cattle colonies to stem the tide of bloodletting arising from persistent clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.