Advocacy groups, Nigeria Reconciliation and Stability Project of the British Council and the Bayelsa State Peace and Conflict Management Alliance, have mediated in the conflict between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state.
The groups, which met on Saturday to seek lasting peace between farmers and herdsmen, also decried their frequent conflicts.
The BSPCMA leader, Mrs. Elizabeth Egbe, who spoke to journalists after a meeting with farmers and victims of the attacks in Yenagoa, noted that there was the need to end the frequent attacks on farmers.
Egbe said, “Our move to check conflict between herdsmen and communities in the state has become necessary in order to ensure peaceful co-existence and promote the country’s vision of self-sufficiency in food production.
“We have heard that there is tension already in some communities in Biogbolo, Yenuzie-Epie, Okutukutu and Epie in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state, where some farmers were attacked by the herdsmen.
“We are here to find out the root of the matter and way forward for the betterment of our people and Nigerians. Some of the attacked farmers are here with us.
“We have had a meeting with the security agencies to tackle the issue in the state. So, we are urging the government to provide a grazing field for the Fulani herdsmen in the state – a place, where they can settle rather than moving from one bush to another.”
A victim, Mrs. Margret Samuel, urged the government to protect farmers against what she called the “cruelty of the herdsmen.”
She added, “My hands were nearly cut off by the herdsmen during a recent attack. The attack was cruel and the government should not allow this to continue.”
But one of the herdsmen, Suleman Abubakar, said those fuelling the attack were not herdsmen resident in the state.