The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, said on Wednesday the state government paid N100, 000 each as compensation to farmers and herdsmen for damages recorded during conflicts in the state.
Ikpeazu, who stated this when he featured in aq Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, said the move was to ensure the people gain the trust of the government and prevent them from taking laws into their hands whenever there is a misunderstanding between the farmers and herdsmen in the state.
He said: “We have a strong mechanism with which we deal with the normal and usual cattle herders. We have what we call farmer/herder conflict resolution committee in the state.
The executive chairmen of various local government areas, members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), the Department of State Service (DSS) and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) of the various local government areas in the state are members of the committee.
“And we pay compensation of about N100, 000 for any cow that is killed on account of a misunderstanding between the farmers and the herders and pay the same amount for farmland verified to have been trampled on or destroyed by stray cows.
“We have used that to make sure that at least, we give some succour and buffer so that when people disagree, they can wait for that committee to look into the matter instead of taking the law into their own hands.
“But that is not to say that we have not recorded a spike in the activities of these criminal elements that come to kidnap, rape, and kill farmers. More often than not, some of these criminal elements don’t even have a cow. We are targeting those people and we are going to punish them.”