…As minors parade Ebonyi streets with cows

Herd of cows led by underage herder

In a bid to maintain peace and order between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Ebonyi, the state government in 2017 enacted a law against underage herders in the state.

The law prohibited open movement of animals such as cows, goats and cattle, while a special taskforce was inaugurated to ensure that cattle herders confined their cattle to one location.

The governor even made it known during an enlarged security meeting that involved all the security chiefs in the state, national leaders of Myetti Allah, leaders of Hausa community / herdsmen in the state, among other stakeholders, which took place at the exco-chambers, government house Abakaliki in 2017.

Umahi was reacting to the herdsmen/villagers clash in Enyanwu Igwe, Igbeagu community of Izzi local government which left four persons dead, with two others in critical condition.

He reiterated, “We banned underage herders, we banned night grazing in the state. We have no grazing routes in Ebonyi which means that nobody has the right to carry cattle by route to Ebonyi state and we agreed on that.

“We also agreed with the herdsmen that the first offender must be prosecuted. We also said that no farmer should go to farm with gun and no herdsmen should rear cattle with gun or machete, it is stick. We must abide by these rules”

This law which has been in existence for long now is always recited in every meeting with either security agencies mostly the police with the leaders of Fulani herdsmen in state or meeting with the state government officials.

But the herdsmen in the state have proved difficult to deal with as regards to this law. Although on different occasions, the herdsmen deny leaving their cows to graze under the care of underage herders, as well as allowing their cows to graze on peoples’ farms.

On Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at Barrister Egbu Street Aguogboriga, a herd of cows was seen being led by two underage herders.

The one who stationed at the front of the herd is not up to 10 years, while the one stationed at the back is not up to six years.

The cows were entering into peoples farms eating cassava leaves, even efforts by the underage herders to stop them from grazing on the farmlands proved abortive because the cows were too big for them to handle, as such, they grazed successfully.

Our correspondent stood akimbo watching as the underage herders were struggling to get the cows on the road path, while okada riders could not even pass to pick passengers who had flagged them down from a distance.

This incident was one out of many recorded cases of open grazing and underage herders.

It’s high time the state government implements the law against underage herders by prosecuting the herdsmen leaders in the state so as to serve as a deterrent to their followers.

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