Chief Julius Egbedi, Chairman, Delta State Livestock Management Committee (DLMC), said the full implementation of the livestock law would benefit all stakeholders in the state.
Egbedi, also the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, stated this when he led DLMC members on a consultation visit to the Owa Monarch in Owa Oyibu and Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders and Dealers Association in Asaba on Thursday.
He recalled that DLMC was inaugurated by Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa on Dec. 14, 2021, with a mandate to implement the Delta State Livestock, Breeding, Rearing, and Marketing Regulation Law 2021 in the best interest of the citizens.
The chairman said that the traditional ruler and the Meyetti Allah among other stakeholders were critical in the peaceful implementation of the law.
He noted that the visit is to solicit support of the traditional ruler and enable the committee interface with them during their monthly meeting.
He also said that the state government would set up committees and taskforce in each of the 25 Local Government Areas for effective implementation of the law.
According to him, the law will become effective in three months’ time.
Egbedi further said that the committee would meet and speak with the traditional rulers if any of them have land to lease to the herders for business
He pointed out that many years ago, the state had been in peace as farmers and herders go about their businesses until the criminal herdsmen emerged.
”The farmers are the backbone of the state economy and they must be protected from harm, molestation, rape and death by the killer herders,” he said..
Addressing the Arewa community and Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders and Dealers Association in Asaba, Egbedi said that the visit was to interface with them to find lasting solutions to the incessant herders and farmers crisis in the state.
”Delta is a hospitable state and over the years we have been living peacefully, the farmers and the herders go about their business peacefully.
“But of late, there has been crisis and our people no longer go to their farms for fear of being molested, raped or killed by gun-wielding herdsmen.
“Today, there is law in place, the law will provide protections for the cattle dealers and the farmers, it will benefit all stakeholders if you will support us to implement the law peacefully.
“I will want you to help us fish out the criminal herders and take the message to your people that there is a law guiding livestock business and that open grazing is no longer allowed in the state,” he said.
The chairman, however, urged the cattle dealers to reach out to people and communities to negotiate for land to pen their cattle, adding that they should approach the committee when necessary to give them support and get their business documented.
Responding, HRM, Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor II, assured the committee of support, but decried the ordeal experienced by farmers in the state due to the infiltration of criminal herders into communities.
“I am almost 84 years old and more than 62 years on the throne, I have never seen a situation where every dick and harry are discussing one thing, and it appears those who perpetrate these things are above the law.
“But I want to thank the state government for the step taken, at least bringing a law, for sometimes they say there is no law, now there is law.
“The governor is one man who has shown so much respect to the traditional institution and at no time used his position to undermine the traditional institutions,” Efeizomor said.
Alhaji Ibrahim Yunus, Vice Chairman, Cattle Dealers, thanked the committee but sought clarification on certain issues.
Yunus said that prior to the implementation of the law, some hoodlums in their various host communities at various occasions attacked and killed their cattle.
He called for restraints and pledged their commitment to remain law abiding, urging the state government to help them secure land for their cattle.