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ECOWAS Protocol reason FG can’t stop free movement of cattle – Dambazau

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Obiora Ifoh, Abuja

The Federal Government has revealed that it is practically impossible to stop the free movement of cattle across the borders and within the countries because Nigeria is a signatory to ECOWAS protocol and free movement.

The government at the center also blamed the problem on the effect of climate change which it said has forced some farmers to abandon their traditional farming areas to traditional routes for the cattle, adding that the problem is being aggravated by some politicians for their own selfish interest.

Speaking at a ministerial press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, said change in climate and growth in population majorly responsible for the problem.

It would be recalled that the herders/farmers clashes had, in the last two years led to the destruction of so many property and several lives lost, majorly in Benue, Plateau, Taraba and other states in the North-central part of the country.

As a result of the lost, Ministry of interior under Dambazau as Minister, which is constitutional responsible to provide internal security said it has held some meetings on how to end the problem.Part of the resolutions is that there should be an international clearance certificate for the herders moving from one country to another.

“When he (herder) enters into a country there must be a check point area where the cattle will ve inspected, there must be international clearance certificate, know the number of cow is moving with, ensure that he does not carry weapon of any kind, show him the route he must follow and so on.

“So in doing that all these clashes between herders and farmers will be completely reduced if not eliminated because what is happening is that harders along the routes go into farms and somehow destroy the crops,” Dambazau stated.

While blaming climate change and high population for the problem, the Minister also said some failed politicians do take advantage of the clashes to score some points.

“Part of the problems is that there have been cattle routes over the years but because population growth and climate change even farmers are moving from their traditional communities, moving elsewhere because of climate change, so now they are occupying the routes created for cattle.

“Now, population growth has made it possible for people to also built homes along those routes, so when those herders are moving ,they now have to look for alternative routs, in the event they destroy farm. So, this is what is happening.

“And we (Nigeria) is signatory to ECOWAS protocol and free movement. What is happening is that we can not stop the free movements. About 60-65 percent of ECOWAS is here and we also move en-mass to ECOWAS countries. We move our goods to ECOWAS countries. This is why I said it is a complex issue and it is a regional issue which must be tackle accordingly.

“The second issue is that certain politicians also politicise this issue for their own benefits, particularly when the election is approaching and they have not been able to do well in their states, so they politicise it. So at that meeting we discussed with the Governors that politicising this crisis is of no benefit to anyone rather it endanger the public.”

When asked to tell the world on how the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu escaped from the country early last year (2018), the Minister of Interior tactically ignored the question.

For the Comptroller General of Immigration (NIS) Muhammed Babandede, who the minister was given microphone to answer the question openly told the gathering he was not going to response.


Dambazau,
who was giving stewardship of leadership as a Minister in the last three years, listed some reforms he brought to the ministry to include: Automation of citizenship and business department, Prison reform, reforms of the Federa Fire Service, Police reforms, Immigration Service reforms among others.

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