By G9ija

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi will today meet with the national leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to douse rising tension between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

Ahead of the meeting, the state government convened a stakeholders’ meeting yesterday where the governor was briefed by chairmen of various local government areas and traditional rulers on the situation in their areas.

Umahi decried the increasing altercation between the herdsmen and various communities in the state.

The governor said if such incidents were allowed to continue, they could degenerate into the breakdown of law and order and bloodshed.  He said Ebonyi is a peaceful state which opens its doors to all persons, irrespective or tribe or religion.

“I always say that Ebonyi people seem to love visitors more than they love themselves. This recent altercation is very unlike us and there is no doubt that the people and stakeholders are not in support of it.

“We expect that we will be able to fashion out a means for us to leave together in peace. We have also passed a law as that will lead to peaceful coexistence. We have signed an agreement in the past with Miyetti Allah and formed a committee at all levels, all geared towards peaceful coexistence.

“We have in the past made it clear that killing of cows is an offence and also made it an offence to destroy farmlands and crops,” Umahi said.

The governor said the major problem had been the implementation of the agreements and laws passed to protect the herders and farmers.

There have been increasing skirmishes between various communities in the state and Herdsmen in the state.

Last month, women in Afikpo North Local Government Area protested the high rate of farm produce destruction by the herdsmen.

The women, who gathered from four communities of Nkpoghoro, Ugwuegu, Ohaisu and Itim in Afikpo North local government areas, chanted songs of sorrow and wielded sticks to show their concerns.