By Emmanuel Nnaji, ABAKALIKI
Ebonyi State Government has inaugurated a nine-man panel of inquiry to investigate the clash between farmers and herders in Okpuitumo, Abakaliki Local Government Area of the State.
Addressing the panel of inquiry in an enlarged security meeting held at Cabinet Office, Abakaliki, the Secretary to the State Government who also doubles as Secretary, State Committee on Farmer-Herder Conflict Resolution, Dr. Ugbala Kenneth Igwe, charged them to carry out detailed investigation on the matter in order to ascertain what triggered the crisis in the area, that led to loss of life, destruction of property and report back to State Committee on Farmer and Herder Conflict Resolution within two weeks.
The Secretary to the State Government further advocated that the policy brief of Ebonyi State Government on farmer and herder relations is not vindictive but specific and should be adhered strictly to regardless of religious, ethnicity and political affiliations.
Dr. Kenneth Ugbala mandated the herders to observe sternly Ebonyi State, extant law on open grazing and avoid living close to cultivated farm lands as that will impose threat to farmers. He therefore assured the people of Okpuitumo, that the matter will be resolved amicably.
Dr. Ugbala, noted that farmer-herder conflict is a security challenge not peculiar to Ebonyi State only but Nigeria in general.
In their responses, the caretaker Chairman of Abakaliki Local Government Area, Mr. Ben Nwovu and Chairman of Miyetti Allah in Ebonyi State, Alhaji Sadiq Gidado, expressed unalloyed gratitude to Ebonyi State Government for prompt interventions and pledged their loyalty as well as their readiness to comply with the measures taken by the State Government in restoring peace and order in the area.
The meeting was attended by the Commissioner for Internal Security, Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Barr. Samuel Okoronkwo, Local Government Caretaker Chairmen, Development Centre Coordinators and Security Chiefs in Ebonyi State