By Kingsley Chukwuka, Jos
The Management Committee Chairman of Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State Hon. Bitrus Doro has applauded the Joint Military Task Force code name Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), for regulating the activities of cattle breeders in Plateau and some part of Bauchi state, from 7pm.
Doro said most of the crisis that engulfed Barkin-Ladi in recent time was due to destruction of farmlands by herdsmen which findings has shown that most of the damage were done at night hours.
“The destruction of farmlands by herdsmen constituted largely to the wanton killings experienced in Barkin-Ladi and when we came into office seven months ago, this place was boiling, it was a theatre of war, but we had to engage the Hausa/ Fulani and the Berom to a round table, all in the effort to bring this agitation to an end. But then, the recent climb down on night grazing by OPSH, will help in sustaining the hard earn peace we now enjoy today”.
The LG boss emphasised that the OPSH through its Commander, Major-General Tagbo Ude, has demonstrated resilience in ensuring that peace return to the trouble part of Plateau and Bauchi States within its area of operation.
He stated that one other measure by Gen. Ude, that necessitated peace is the mandatory compensation of destruction of farmlands and cattle rustling.
In his words, “another areas of intervention is the mandatory compensation without having sentiment, therefore, if anyone engages in any act of impunity he or she will be punished, that is to say if a Hausa/Fulani takes his cattle to the farmland of the Berom and destroy the crops, he will be made to pay for it and in the same vain, if the native rustle any cow belonging to the Fulani man, he will also be made to pay the damages”, he said.
Consequently, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Search For Common Ground through its Program Manager, Mrs. Lantana Abdullahi, told Daily Times that the return of peace in Plateau after 15 long years shows the commitment of the security agency to develop new approach in combating security challenges.
She opined that the activities of security architecture in Plateau state including the Operation Safe Haven and others few years ago were viewed with a lot of misgivings and mistrust. Many communities accused the security of complicity in the violence, unprofessional conduct and low morale to protect. This is no surprise in a state that has seen more than 15 years of violent conflicts.
She stated however that in the last one year, peace is gradually returning to the state owing to new strategies employed by OPSH to tackle the ugly trend, giving nod to the night ban of grazing is one of those strategies.
Similarly, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in the Plateau, Muhammad Nura, in an interaction with our correspondent, said he was happy with the ban on grazing after 7pm, adding that the group had also banned the use of children from rearing cattle.
According him, “Any child below 15 is no longer allowed to rear cattle and we have been going about door to door to educate the breeders in the villages on the
reason for the ban,” he said.
Consequently, Gen. Ude, said that the ban is to consolidate the peace process in the two states. He added that due to the migration tendency of Fulani cattle breeders, every breeder who intends to migrate to a new community in the state must notify his Ardo who in turn will communicate with the Ardo of the
new community where the herdsman intends to reside in.
Ude also commended the formation of a joint Berom and Fulani vigilante group in Barkin- Ladi which he said have identified bad eggs within both communities and stressed that thestrategy will be replicated in other communities.