The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Ibagwa Nike community in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, on Tuesday signed an accord to ensure peaceful coexistence.
The development was the outcome of a town hall meeting between the community leaders and representatives of Miyetti Allah, led by the Sarki Hausa, Yusuf Sambo.
The convener of the meeting and traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu, said the meeting was organised to enable the herders and their host communities deliberate on ways to foster peace and avert conflicts.
The monarch, who is the grand patron of MACBAN in the South-East, said the community had continued to pursue peace in spite of alleged provocations from the herders.
He said the meeting would help to enlighten the herders on how to carry out their activities ahead of the take-off of the newly recruited forest guards in the state.
Ugwu said, “The forest guards are not under me and that is one of the reasons I called you in order not to have problems. So, this meeting is to protect you.”
He expressed worry over the activities of herders who had “continued to destroy farmlands in the community, in spite of the kindness shown to them.”
He said the meeting would set up a committee to inspect the farms, evaluate the worth of the damage and negotiate compensation to be paid as a way to pacify frayed nerves in the community.
The Sarki Hausa commended the monarch for organising the peace meeting, adding that Nigeria would experience greater peace if opinion leaders could take similar initiatives.
“A situation where a leader will see settlers as part of their community is quite commendable.
“I am delighted to hear from the herders that their businesses are flourishing in this community,” he said.
Sambo, who is the chairman, Enugu State Cattle Control Committee, said he would ensure that any herder whose cattle destroy farmlands is made to pay compensation.
He also said that any farmer who willfully kills a cow would also be made to pay compensation.
Chairman of MACBAN in the state, Ibrahim Umar, said their members would be advised not to destroy farmlands.
Umar said that the body cherished the long-standing relationship with the community.