The House of Representatives has called for the criminalisation of open grazing as it effect the security of lives, property and food production in the country.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of ”Urgent Motion of Public Importance” by Rep. Ben Igbakpa (PDP-Delta) in the plenary on Thursday.
Igbakpa said that Ethiope Federal Constituency is made up of Ethiope-East and Ethiope-West a linear settlement along the Shores of river Ethiope.
He said the area is a predominantly agrarian and was well known for the production of all stable food like cassava, plantain and yams.
”An agrarian society is any community which economy is based on producing and maintaining crops and farmland,” he explained
He alleged that between 2014 and 2018, a total of 36 persons were killed, including four lecturers in their farmland by herdsmen.
“In this year 2019, a total of eight persons have been gruesomely murdered for daring to insist that the herdsmen should not graze on their farms.
“Not single prosecutions of the culprits have been recorded to serve as a deterrent have been recorded,” he said.
Igbakpa said that on July 2, the entire Local Government Area of Ethiope-East woke up into mourning and grief.
The lawmaker alleged that the herdsmen were bearing arms and threatening to deal with anybody who challenged them.
The legislator said that the herdsmen claimed that they “own Abuja” even as they operate in Delta.
He recalled that Ovre village in Delta and Ewosi village which is a border town to Edo had been forcefully abandoned by the communities to herdsmen for fear of incessant killings and destruction of crops.
“No doubt this will lead to hunger, poverty, malnutrition and ultimately refugees in their own ancestral land,” he said.
Igbakpa said that in spite of the effect on food security and the inherent adverse economic effect on the people, the activities of these herdsmen if not checked could result in self-help by the local communities.
According to him, the nefarious activities of these herdsmen have continued unabated for over five years now with largely and devastating consequences as it progresses.
The parliamentarian said that there is an urgent need for a more robust and sustainable approach to solving the problem by all stakeholders.
“Section 14(2) of the 1998Constitution ria (as amended) provides that the welfare and security of the people shall be the primary responsibility of the government.
According to him, the people can no longer move around freely to the extent that some roads including Sakpoba and Ovre are no-go areas having been deserted for fear of attack by the herdsmen.
The house urged the security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, midwife a meeting of stakeholders in Ethiope Federal Constituency and leaders of the herdsmen to douse the tension and find a lasting solution to this recurring security milieu.
The green chambers urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Information and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to enlighten herdsmen to endeavour to limit grazing to areas allowed.
The lower chambers tasked the agencies on the need to reorient the herdsmen to understand that ranching should be a compulsory component of cattle herding in Nigeria in the interest peace with the host communities.
The parliamentarian urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other regulatory authorities as a matter of urgency provide food items and relief materials to the identified victims of the wanton destruction.