From SAMSON AKPU, Abakaliki
Communities in Ebonyi State have been given the all-clear to arrest any under-aged herders found grazing cattle and hand them over to the Nigeria police.
The government has also empowered the communities to arrest the chief herder (s) who is the custodian of such under-aged persons.
These were contained in the communique issued at the end of an enlarged security meeting held at Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki, yesterday and chaired by Governor David Umahi.
“The various communities are by this meeting empowered to arrest and handover to the police any under-aged grazing within your community and the Chief Herder who is the custodian of such under-aged persons must be prosecuted by the police, in accordance with our law”, the government said.
The State government further disclosed that it planned to set up a special court for the prosecution of the culprits of farmers and herders clashes in the State.
The Special Court would also undertake the trial of the offenders of COVID-19 law and protocols, cultism, rape and other unwanton killings in the State.
The State government also directed all local council chairmen to liaise with the Miyetti Allah leadership to produce identity cards for all herders operating within their localities.
According to the communique, which was read by the Deputy Governor, Barrister Kelechi Igwe, the government enjoined the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State to urgently set up a special court for the arrest and trial of the offenders of COVID-19 law and protocols, cases of cultism, and herdsman Clashes, rapes and killings.
The State government warned that “henceforth, Members of Miyetti Allah and their leadership must take responsibilities for any destruction of farms, crops, properties, including any attack on any Community in Ebonyi State,” adding that rape cases were not exempted.
The communiqué reads in part: “They must produce within seven(7) days for arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of such dastardly acts from amongst their membership.
“In the same vein, Communities’ leaders and traditional rulers, Development Centre Coordinators, local council chairmen and political office holders must take responsibility and produce attackers and killers of herdsmen or the cows for arrest and prosecution within seven (7) days whenever such occurs.
“Henceforth, herders must reside in the community where they graze their cattle.
“Rearing and grazing of cattle within and around Centenary City, Government House, schools, churches, mosques and public places of recreation are hereby prohibited and offenders must be prosecuted in accordance with our law within seven (7) days of the arrest.
“All persons carrying cow by foot on the tarred road, on our concrete roads must be arrested and handed over to the police within seven days of prosecution by the community.”