Some armed herdsmen and farmers in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State have surrendered their arms in a peace and reconciliation move initiated by the local council.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kankara is among the areas that recorded increased cases of clashes between the disputing groups over land encroachment during grazing, cattle rustling or other crime in the state.
The acting Chairman of the council, Alhaji Bishir Mashi, disclosed this during the reconciliation meeting on Thursday in Kankara.
Mashi said the dialogue was informed by the spate clashes that resulted in loss of lives and properties in the area which he described as detrimental to nation building.
He said series of meetings and consultations have been conducted between government officials and the disputing groups at various places and periods.
The chairman stressed that based on good understanding and pledges to discontinue the confrontations, they both pledged to surrender their weapons and ensure peace.
Mashi, who is also the council’s Head of Local Government Administration and Finance, advised herdsmen and farmers to respect the agreement.
Besides, he urged security officials and the general public to accept the reconciliation in good faith.
Speaking earlier, the Kankara Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr Jibrin Muhammad, underscored the importance of peace and cautioned group members against taking laws in their hands.
Muhammad said the police would henceforth not entertain any form of crime attributed to repraisal attacks, adding the reconciliation is in the interest of all groups as well as the general public.
The leader of the herdsmen, Malam Yahaya Saleh, pledged to uphold the agreement by living in peace and halting rustling.
Saleh, who said the group was now reformed, also pledged to work with security operatives to bring to rustlers and other criminals to justice.
On his part, Alhaji Aminu Koshe, leader of vigilance group on the farmers side, said his people would no longer harassed any herdsman in the town, stressing that previous actions were due to increased cases of armed robbery, cattle rustling and other vices.
Koshe described the activities of farmers and herdsmen as interdependent and solicited for collaboration.
The state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Mannir Lamido, commended the reconciliation effort, adding that he would continue to support government peace initiatives.
Lamido commended Gov. Aminu Masari for extending the move to other areas across the state and assured that herdsmen would live up to the expectation.
He also urged people to always regard herdsmen as industrious citizens contributing to national economic growth.
He called for demarcation of cattle routes and grazing areas while attributing the increase in cases of conflict to non-existence of such routes.
Lamido also called for more investment on educating herdsmen and farmers children, stressing that illiteracy also bred crimes among the groups.
He enjoined herdsmen to enrol their children, especially girls, in schools rather than send them to hawk milk in towns and streets. (NAN)
(Culled from Dailytrust)