Agatu killing: Senate wants arms retrieved from herdsmen

The Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government to urgently check the proliferation of arms around the country and retrieve them.



This followed a motion by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) on the high proliferation of arms in the country and the recurring clashes between herdsmen and farmers in parts of the country.

The red chamber condemned recent killings of farmers in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue. It called on the government to establish ranches and grazing reserves across the country and adopt other strategies to enable herdsmen settle to modern systems of livestock farming.

In the motion which was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers, the senate also urged states and local government in the country to also establish ranches for care of the cattle. It advised the Federal Government to retrieve all gazetted grazing reserves in the country which had been converted to other uses.

It mandated its Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on National Security to hold public hearings on the issue. The lawmakers urged cattle owners to ensure that the grazing of their livestock did not infringe on the rights of farming communities and farmers.

Some of the senators, who contributed to the motion, blamed desertification in the North as a major reason for the migration of herdsmen to greener areas. Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said that threat to farmers was like a threat to about 80 per cent of Nigerian.

He said that the solution to the problem had been over-deliberated and that it was time for bold steps to be taken to stop the killings. Barnabas Gemade (APC Benue North-East) said that the Police was only paying lips service to the constant killing of farmers in Benue and other parts of the country.

He said that the police must rise to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties as the Army was already being over-stretched and could not be brought in. Gemade urged that the report of the joint committee set up by the 7th Senate to find solution to the problem be adopted for implementation. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) advocated the retrieval of grazing routes which had been converted to farmlands, saying that the routes, which were in the federal gazettes, should be maintained.

On his part, Bukar Ibrahim (APC Yobe East) called on governments of the 15 countries in West Africa to unanimously settle herdsmen in their areas, saying it would make the problems to abate. In his remarks, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said that the 7th Senate also deliberated on the clashes but found no solution to them, and assured the 8th Senate would make the difference by finding solution to the problem.