Cattle breeders and farmers in Enugu have entered into an agreement that will ensure peaceful co-existence.
The meeting was attended by leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Enugu State chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and other stakeholders.
Briefing reporters, Southeast Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, said the gathering was strategic to foster peace.
He said the meeting was to dispel insinuations that herders were in the state to terrorise host communities.
“The essence of this meeting is to bring farmers and herders together for interaction so that we will know ourselves as well as dispel rumour that we are here to terrorise.
“We are here to feed our cattle. This meeting will bring us together so that farmers will feel at home when they see cattle breeders.
“The cattle breeders will equally take members of their host communities as their brothers and sisters,” Siddiki said.
He said the meeting was attended by state chairmen of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in the region. “Since most of the grazers migrate from one state to the other, we brought state chairmen here.
“The essence is to inform them that whenever something happens and it involves somebody that comes from another state, I will call the chairman to resolve it.
“The agreement is that we will promote peace between ourselves through this type of meeting, which will be held regularly,” Siddiki said.
He said any issue beyond the groups’ leaders would be directed to the Central Peace Committee at the state level.
“We also made it known that we have a Peace and Security Committee at the Government House. “Whenever something we cannot resolve happens at the local level, we take it to the committee for final decision,” Siddiki said.
AFAN’s Chairman Mr. Sunny Watarali said the meeting ushered in better understanding between the groups.
He noted that both groups need to respect the culture and tradition of each other. Watarali said host communities would not allow cows messed up their source of drinking water.
“The grey areas have been sorted out. Both parties are to respect each other; respect the culture. “For example, you do not carry cows to urinate in the river. This is the source of drinking water.
“Again, if for any reason the cow does anything wrong, our people should be patient and report, rather than resorting to self-help.
“If we can do that, such mutuality will bring about better understanding and peace,” he said. Watarali said the meeting was expected to be replicated in rural areas.
“Subsequent meeting will be held at local governments where farmers live. “I believe if we do that, we will achieve peace,” he said