By C. DON ADINUBA
The Anambra State government is pleased to announce that the crisis between herdsmen and crop farmers in the Anam community in Anambra West local government area, which occurred last week, has been resolved.
The swift resolution followed the directive by Governor Willie Obiano to the Anambra State Security Council to bring the crisis to an end immediately and find out both the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and proffer suggestions on how to address them, so that a similar crisis does not erupt in the state in the future.
Following the governor’s directive, the Anambra State commissioner of police, the state director of the Department of State Services, the commanders of the army and naval formations in the state, the state commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the special adviser to the governor on security led other State Security Council members to end the dispute quickly.
Meaningful discussions were held with leaders of Anam town and those of the herdsmen. It was apparent that the crisis was precipitated by the entry of some herdsmen from a neighbouring state into Anambra State without following the protocol guiding the conduct of herdsmen in the state. For instance, they entered Anam without informing the local leaders of the herdsmen association who would have registered them as members and inform them of the rules of doing cattle business in Anambra State. The consequence was that the new entrants violated the rules in a repugnant manner and caused a breach of the peace.
Anambra State has for years adopted a code of conduct for herdsmen and crop farmers in the state which has proved exceedingly effective in determining the excellent relations between these groups of people because both the spirit and letter of the code are widely acknowledged to be just and fair and the implementation done even-handedly and transparently. The faithful implementation of this code is considered one of the reasons our state has over the years been free of the clashes between herdsmen and crop farmers experienced in different parts of the country.
Last week’s incident in Anam is odd. The people and government of Anambra State deeply regret the occurrence. While commiserating with victims, we will not leave any person or group of persons in doubt about the determination and capacity of the state government to bring the culprits to book and make them feel the full weight of the law.
The state government, however, notes with dissatisfaction that the reports in a section of the media about the scope and dimension of the crisis in Anam are exaggerated. The section of the media would have done a better job if the journalists who reported the incident had bothered to speak to any government official to obtain the facts and therefore have a fuller picture of what transpired. The state government operates an open door policy and enjoys an excellent relationship with the media. It is, therefore, irregular that reports on a matter as sensitive and grave as the security situation in the state could be written and published without the authors seeking to obtain the government position. The media must at all times be alive to their social responsibility, especially in these trying times. This is not the time for sensationalism.
The Anambra State government thanks all the people and groups that contributed to the successful resolution of the crisis last week in Anam between herdsmen and crop farmers. We thank in particular the traditional rulers in the Anam community, the presidents-general of town unions, the security agencies and ndi Anambra at home and abroad who, as usual, displayed a healthy interest in the affairs of their beloved state which remains Nigeria’s safest and most peaceful state. The Good Lord will continue to protect, guide and bless us all.
Adinuba is the commissioner for information & public enlightenment, Anambra State.