By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
Orient Daily learnt that the herders traveling with cows numbering over 2000 allegedly clashed with the people of the area, resulting in the injury of two persons, among other losses.
However, both parties have accused each other of promoting the clash, even as efforts were being made to settle the looming crisis.
In an interview, Hon. Prince John Elom, Coordinator of Ukaba Development Centre in Onicha local government area of Ebonyi state, accused the herdsmen in the area of not complying with the directive of the state government in profiling. He alleged that during the clash, there was shooting, destruction of crops, adding that they also disrupted a traditional marriage that was organised in the community.
He said, “As a matter of fact, when I came on board, I inaugurated a committee in charge of settling disputes between farmers and herdsmen; but the herdsmen have refused to cooperate with us and have also rejected profiling. There is an existing memorandum between the herdsmen and the state government on the migration of cattle.
“But what happened recently as I was reliably informed was that the herdsmen were migrating from Calabar to Kogi state. The first time I am hearing about such migration. They were having about 2000 cattle; and at Abaomege, they had little misunderstanding with our people.
“They were destroying crops along the road. And at that moment, they were pandemonium. After that, they ran into crowds that were doing traditional marriage at Amaoffia. They had a problem there and our people were attacked and they shot people.
“The herdsmen collected a motorcycle belonging to one of our people. Their cows scattered. One of the cows got injured inside a gutter and refused to move. According to our source, they used their poisonous knife to slaughter the cow and left it there. I called the villagers to order and asked them not to eat the cow.
“I had to report to the relevant agencies. At the end of the day, one of the herdsmen, who claimed to be their leader, reported to the police in Abaomege with the motorcycle. He alleged that five of their cows were missing. I invited them to face to face discussion but they ran away. Two of our boys were injured”, he stated.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Idris, the leader of Myetti Allah in Onicha local government area of Ebonyi state, in a telephone interview told Orient Daily, said that there was a clash between herdsmen and the people of Abaomege. He alleged that three cows belonging to the Fulani herdsmen were wounded and money collected from one of the herders, even as he denied the fact that anyone was injured in the clash, and that no motorcycle was collected from our people.
Idiris, who said that the matter was being settled, pointed out that the herdsmen and the people had attended a security meeting with security agents to ensure that the matter was settled amicably.