Kogi House of Assembly on Thursday called on the state government to take a holistic measure at curbing herdsmen activities which had made farmers and farming unsafe in the state.
The call was sequel to a resolution of the house in Lokoja after the adoption of a motion by Mr Victor Omofaiye (PDP-Ijumu), urging the government to address the menace of herdsmen in the constituency.
In the motion, Omofaiye said that it had become imperative to draw the attention of government to the “nefarious activities’’ of the herdsmen which had made agriculture an unproductive venture for the people.
He said that Federal Government’s policy on diversification led to the emergence of young farmers, “young graduates, who took loans to go into agriculture but unfortunately, the pastoralists have thrown many of them into debts’’.
The legislator said that in civilized societies, cattle farming was recognized and treated as a business and occupation and done in government-approved ranches without any intent to undermine national security.
Cattle-grazing in Kogi, according to him, has become a ploy for blatant terrorism and wickedness with the herdsmen undermining the benevolence of their hosts and committing murder, rape, arson and brigandage.
“In the past, herdsmen carried sticks to control their cattle but today, they carry firearms, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons to terrorize the people after destroying their farmlands and crops.
“They also open up farmers’ barns for their cattle to eat up maize and cassava and even the planted ones are uprooted and trampled in the process of grazing.
“The menace is now so embarrassing to the extent that our farmers can no longer get food to eat from their farms, not to talk of selling for their economic wellbeing,’’ he said.
Seconding the motion, Mohammed Osewu (APC-Kogi-KK) said that the motion should be made to cover the entire state as the menace of the herdsmen was not limited to Ijumu.
Osewu said that communities in other parts of the state were suffering same fate in the hands of the herdsmen.
Other lawmakers, including Jimoh Omiata (PDP-Yagba East) and Majority Leader, Matthew Kolawole (PDP-Kabba-Bunu), supported the motion.
In his remarks, The Speaker, Alhaji Umar Imam, said that the impunity with which the herdsmen carried out their activities was disturbing.
In a voice vote, the motion was adopted with overwhelming “yes’’ support.