By Deborah Ogedemgbe
Benin – In its bid to avoid clashes between herdsmen and host communities, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Edo Command, on Sunday met with leaders of the association of cattle dealers and rearers in the state.
The state Commandant of the Corps, Mr Makinde Ayinla, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen, said the meeting was held in Benin.
He said that the recent upsurge in the clashes between herdsmen, farmers and host communities, which led to loss of lives, was becoming worrisome.
He said that the Corps had been mandated by the Federal Government to coordinate the the activities of herdsmen as well as resolve conflict between them, farmers and host communities.
Ayinla said the meeting was not called to apportion blame but to chart a way forward and find possible ways of averting re-occurrence of clashes between the two groups.
He said that the meeting was also imperative as the Edo Government was going into large scale farming and there was the need to ensure that crops to be cultivated were not destroyed by cattle.
The Commandant said the command would partner with the association to achieve success in its mandate while stressing the need for peace and peaceful co-existence.
He advised members of the association not to take laws into their hands, adding that they should call officers of the command in the event of any unpleasant situations.
Usman Umoru, chairman, Hausa community, Esan Central LGA, who attended the meeting, said that in most cases, communities and farmers wrongfully accuse Hausas and Fulanis as well as herdsmen for any conflict.
“Though the herdsmen have their own fault, in most cases they are wrongly accused,’’ he said, and appealed to members of the association not to take laws into their hands.
Also speaking, Ahaji Abdullahi Sule, Sarki Hausa, Abudu, said the association is disturbed by incessant raping and kidnappings attributed to its members.
He said that the average Fulani man is mindful of the woman he beds.
Mohammed Idris, a member of the association, said that host communities should be advised not to take laws into their hand and stressed the need for both parties to report dispute to the appropriate authorities.