Ekweremadu proffers solution to attacks by herdsmen
Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 5 September 2016 | 1,631 times
Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy President of the Senate, has called on states of the South-east and other parts of the country that have suffered the ravages of herdsmen attacks to legalize ranching and establish enforcement mechanisms to deal with defaulters.
He disclosed this while speaking at the weekend in New York, the United States of America, during the 2016 Convention of the World Igbo Congress (WIC).
Citing Ekiti State as a study, Ekweremadu also argued that there must be enacting laws to curtail the activities of herdsmen in the states.
While frowning at the incessant attacks in Igbo Land and some other parts of Nigeria by herdsmen, the Deputy Senate President said: “Sadly, when you enact laws to checkmate the menace, as Ekiti State has commendably done, you will still rely on the same security institutions to enforce them. This is the dilemma.
“Therefore, our state governments should take further step by ensuring that such legislations provide for enforcement bodies, such as Forest Rangers, which will consistently comb the forests to ensure that those who run foul of the laws are arrested and speedily prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.”
A statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, said Ekweremadu also insisted that “unless Nigeria was restructured, to make it more efficient and productive, it would be difficult for the country to wriggle out of security challenges, pervasive poverty, and retarded growth, as successive leaders would only be dealing with the symptoms, not the root causes of a festering illness.”
He lamented the incessant havocs wrecked by suspected herdsmen across the country, saying it is unacceptable because of their monumental socio-economic consequences on the nation.
He however, commended the efforts of various state governments at managing the humanitarian crisis resulting from the attacks and ensuring there was no total breakdown of law and order, stressing that “Governments of various states in Igbo Land and indeed other parts of the country should immediately consider enacting legislations that confine cattle-rearing to modern ranches as obtainable in developed societies. In fact, our governments could go a step further to invest in constructing and leasing out modern ranches.
“This will produce healthier animals, give better products, provide employment, added value to the farm products, and help in promoting peaceful co-existence as well as sifting armed bandits and terrorists from real farmers doing legitimate business.”
He regretted that “successive military regimes reneged on the core ingredients of a federal structure agreed upon by our founding fathers, at various constitutional conferences leading up to independence, as the basis of the Nigerian union.”
He further stated: “Over the years, we have moved from a strong and viable three-regional federal structure to a weak, spendthrift, and unwieldy 36-state structure; we moved from a decentralised police system that allowed the federating units to take greater charge of security of life and property in their territories to a centralised police system in which one man at the centre pretends to be in full charge of security of lives and property in the creeks of the Niger Delta, the cocoa farms of the South West, the expansive land mass of the North, and the hinterlands of the South East.
“We also moved from fiscal federalism, which encouraged productivity and competitive development to a feeding bottle federalism that runs on free oil money, encouraging indolence, corruption, and lack of creativity in governance.”
“Now you can see why the cost of governance is so high; why states can no longer pay salaries; why neither the federal government nor the federating units cared to invest, but lived off their allocations like lottery proceeds over the years; why it is difficult for a state governor to sack rampaging suspected herdsmen; and why those who have the authority to call the security agencies to action to put a full stop to the menace may not be quick in their response,” he added.
Ekweremadu called on Ndigbo in the Diaspora to join in shaping the ongoing debate on restructuring in Nigeria, because “it is at the heart of the forward-movement.”
“With good faith and realistic restructuring, every part of Nigeria, Igbo Land inclusive, will explode in prosperity, the expected initial challenges notwithstanding; and the good thing is that we can set a timeline and adopt an incremental approach to allay unfounded fears and misgivings that have held us down,” he added.