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Herdsmen killings: Open grazing banned by NEC

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Following the incessant killings by herdsmen, the National Executive Council (NEC) yesterday gave approval to the recommendation to ban open grazing of cattle in all states of the federation.

The recommendation which was submitted by the NEC’s three-man subcommittee and headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, particularly mandated to reveal the causes of clashes and killing of innocent citizens by herdsmen.

Other members of the sub-committee included Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), and Bindo Jubrilla (Adamawa). The panel was mandated to visit Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa states.

Umahi told State House correspondents after the NEC meeting at the Presidential Villa presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, that the panel submitted its report to the council which okayed the recommendation to ban open grazing, opting for the establishment of ranches in states affected by the herdsmen onslaught.

He said NEC blamed the incessant killings by herdsmen on perception and reports by the media.

“The core causes of the conflicts, we were made to understand, were perception and of course our media friends, competition for scarce resources and banditry or what you can call pure criminal activities through cattle rustling and kidnapping‎.”

Governor Umahi, who said his team visited five states Benue, Taraba, Plateau Adamawa and Zamfara, told newsmen that there were three main categories of herdsmen in Nigeria. These, according to him, are foreign herdsmen, nomadic herdsmen and migrant herdsmen whose continued activities have resulted in clashes with farmers.

He said the NEC also agreed that the states affected by herdsmen killings donate land for the establishment of ranches that will include nomadic schools and health facilities for their family members.

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