In a move to entrench law and order and avoid further skirmish between farmers and herders, Bole community in Yola South local government has administered lashes on 12 herders for allegedly violating grazing agreement.
The punishment meted to the herders followed the enactment of a local “code of conduct act” that stipulate certain punishment for any defaulting member of the community as agreed by all stakeholders.
FOMBINATIMES learnt that the agreement stipulates that farmers will not kill cattle or goat which destroy crops while herders will promptly pay compensation and get lashes for crops destroyed. It was also stipulated that children will not be allowed to rear herd of cows.
While administering punishment on the 12 errant herders, chairman of Tabital Puulaku in the area Ya’u Isa said that ‘’about 12 herders who violated the accord had been caned and were forced to pay compensation; this is to tell you on our part how committed we are to peace even before the signing of the accord.’’
According to him; ‘’Herders will stop cattle grazing in the hours of the night and parents are warned to monitor their children and wards to stop drugs peddling which has been the bane of the society.’’
Also speaking at the ceremony, Babagari Baraya, the Executive Secretary of Murmushi Development Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which initiated the accord, said the aim was to prevent conflict between the two groups.
“Following conflicts between herders and farmers in Numan and other communities in the state, we felt that we need to maintain peace in Bole having sensed similar tension brewing in the community, so we decided to bring the two groups to the table for a dialogue.
“We listened to complains from representatives of farmers and those of herders before bringing the two parties together to discuss and proffer solutions,” he said.
Baraya said the initiative was made through collaboration with the British Council.
“We collaborated with British Council under its Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCM) programme to arrive where we are today which is signing of the accord.
“We already have a 20-member Mediation Committee comprising representatives of both parties which has the village head as chairman to ensure implementation of agreements reached to promote peaceful coexistence,” he said.
In his remarks, the state MCM Programme Manager, Mr Abdulkadir Bello, said the gesture was part of British Council’s assistance towards building capacity of government, security and community institutions to resolve disputes more effectively.
Bello said the MCM supported the training of mediation committee members and the carrying out of mediation activities between the farmers and herders.
“The terms of agreements in now put into a document which the parties formally signed today and we are hopeful that it will continue to promote peaceful coexistence and dialogue in the community.
“I want to commend traditional rulers in the area, particularly the Lamido of Adamawa for his support to this and other programmes of MCM and partners in the state,” Bello said.
In his message, the District Head of Yola, Alhaji Mohammed Mustafa, lauded all those involved in promoting peace in the area and urged other communities to emulate them.