OrderPaperToday – The Senate has called on security agencies to retrieve illegal arms and ammunition from individuals throughout the country just as it has disclosed plans to hold public hearings on the incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes.

Senate decisions followed a debate of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state which has resulted in loss of lives, displacement of communities and destruction of properties.

While considering a motion moved by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North), the Senate expressed worries over the high proliferation of arms and ammunition and charged security agencies to retrieve them.

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In a bid to find a lasting solution to the clashes, the Senate mandated its committees on Agriculture and National Security to hold public hearings on the frequent confrontations between farmers and herdsmen. The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to urgently establish ranches and grazing reserves across the country and adopt other strategies to enable herdsmen settle to modern systems of livestock farming.

The senate also resolved that governments at States and Local Government levels should also establish ranches in their states to settle herdsmen while asking the Federal Government was also urged to retrieve all gazetted grazing reserves in the country that had been converted to other uses.

Cattle owners were also enjoined to ensure that the grazing of their livestock does not infringe on the rights of farming communities and farmers who engage in settled agricultural activities.

In his contribution, Sen. Barnabas Gemade (APC Benue North-East) said the Police was only paying lip service to the constant killing of farmers in his state and other parts of Nigeria and urged the force to rise up to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties
He canvassed that the report of a joint committee set up by the 7th Senate to find solution to the clashes be adopted for implementation.

Also speaking, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) advocated for the retrieval of grazing routes which he noted have been converted to farmlands, stressing that such routes which are in the gazettes of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be maintained.

Sen. Bukar Ibrahim (APC Yobe East) introduced an international dimension to the debate by calling on governments of all 15 countries in the West African region to unanimously settle herdsmen in their countries as a lasting solution to the crisis.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate Bukola Saraki noted that the 7th Senate had also deliberated on the clashes and regretted that no solution had been found.
He therefore urged the 8th senate to find a lasting solution to the problem.

In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu stressed that threat to farmers was like a threat to about 80 per cent of Nigerians who engage in farming.

He challenged relevant stakeholders to move from the realm of deliberations towards taking bold steps to address the problem.



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