Yesterday, Friday November 13, 2020, IPAN had an interactive session with Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, the chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), South East zone, and his executives. IPAN’s delegation was led by its National President, Lawrence Onuzulike, South East Zonal Coordinator, Oliver Okeke, and National Deputy Secretary, Michael Chibuzo.
In the meeting, which was held at Siddiki’s office in Awka, Anambra State, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) reiterated that it is always working tirelessly for the maintenance of peace in all the South East states.
Alhaji Gidado said that the association in the South East is partnering with state governments, communities and other stakeholders to ensure a peaceful coexistence. He outlined the various peace initiatives put in place to ensure timely resolution of conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in many communities, such as the establishment of the Farmers-Herders Conflict Resolution Committee by Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States. This committee in every state usually has clergymen, traditional rulers, representatives of the police, representatives of the state government, representatives of Miyetti Allah, and others as members.
The MACBAN leader further explained that since he became the chairman, he has enacted so new rules which are slowly restoring confidence and peace. He said that he made sure that in the event of an attack or destruction of farmlands by their members, the culprit herdsmen or cattle owner would be fished out by the Miyetti Allah leadership and made to face the law and also pay reparations to the affected farmers after verification of the alleged destruction, failure to identify the culprit means the Miyetti Allah leadership would have to pay instead. The same is applicable in a situation where cows belonging to herdsmen or even herdsmen themselves are attacked. In this case, the leaders of the community, especially, the President General, will provide those responsible so that they would face the law and also pay compensations, and if they cannot provide the culprits, the President General is made to pay the affected cattle breeder.
He told IPAN’s delegation that since he assumed office, he has been very proactive in nipping confrontations in the bud with the support of many state governors, especially, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who appointed him as a Technical Adviser.
He therefore sought a close collaboration of Igbos For A Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) and his group in achieving a peaceful coexistence between their members and their host communities.
Earlier in his remarks, the National President of IPAN, Lawrence Onuzulike, stated that the group is a pro-Nigeria association of Igbo patriots working for the unity and progress of Nigeria, as well as bridging the gap of mistrust between Ndigbo and people from other tribes. He went further to state that they came on a fact-finding mission and to seek ways of solving the perennial conflicts between members of Miyetti Allah and their South East hosts
The IPAN president further expressed the readiness of the group to build bridges of trust with non-Igbos carrying out legitimate businesses in Igbo land.
In a brief remark, the Head of Media and the South East Zonal Coordinator of IPAN, Oliver Okeke, thanked the Miyetti Allah leadership for a warm welcome and their readiness to work for peace. He then sought clarifications on the widespread belief that herdsmen are authorized to carry guns, this the MACBAN leader clarified as a false belief. He also pointed out that in South East where he is the leader, they don’t bear arms.
The IPAN National Deputy Secretary, Michael Chibuzo, on his part advised the Miyetti Allah leadership to step up its engagement with the media so as to be sharing their own side of the story, to avoid a one-sided narrative that could lead to avoidable escalation of conflicts.
More reports on this interaction soon.
Report by Oliver Okeke (Awka)