Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, Mr Ekanem Brown has banned open grazing for livestock in his local government area of Akwa Ibom state.
The ban is to forestall further breach of peace and open confrontation with the locals, following the killing of Mr Friday Udo Etor, while three persons were seriously injured during the invasion of Ikot Obio Nso community by herdsmen.
Mr Ekanem Brown, who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo said, he has instructed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area not to allow herdsmen roam the local government with cattle.
‘‘We have banned open grazing in my Local Government. Cows are source of livelihood but, should not be allowed to destroy other people’s sources of livelihood, which is farming.
‘‘You can buy them and keep at one place rather than making it become a problem to others.
‘‘For the recent tragedy in the Local Government Area, I have instructed the police not to allow cows roam about Mkpat Enin again, as we don’t want to have any such ugly incident any more’’.
While throwing his weight behind the Rural Grazing Areas policy of the Federal Government said, the programme should be made voluntary, rather than forcing it on Nigerians.
According to him, ‘‘I support Rural Grazing Areas but not the style and strategy of implementation by the Federal Government.
‘‘Cow is a private business and Federal Government should not dabble into the business of rearing cows. If it does, then it should also go into the business of rearing pigs, importing building materials to protect other business interests.
‘‘We are very concerned about this and, I think if the federal government would do that, it will go a long way to solving the problem.
‘‘So, I support the idea but it should be done differently’’.
The Council boss, who denied having prior knowledge of the attack on the community said, he had ordered immediate prohibition of indiscriminate movement of herders and their animals within Mkpat Enin communities.
He stated that, after meetings with security agencies, policing of the Local Government has been intensified to forestall further beach of peace by the Fulani herdsmen.