Governor Simon Lalong, Plateau State.

By M. Peter, Jos.

Tempers are rising in Jol community of Riyom local government area, Plateau state as residents complain of resumed indiscriminate grazing of animals on crops in the area.

This has always been the issue during the planting and harvesting season in some communities in the area but persistent dialogue and inter groups’ meetings facilitated by Search for Common Ground, a non – governmental organization working with the community people had restored relative peace in the area.

Recently, the menace has resurfaced with crop farmers calling for urgent intervention of relevant stakeholders to avoid any further breach of peace and loss of lives in the area which had witnessed many violent conflicts in the past.

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Our correspondent gathered that on Monday evening, cows were again grazed on a maize farm belonging to one Datiri Danladi of Vwak hamlet in Jol, though the incident has been reported to the Police Division in Riyom, Danladi is said to be in great distress now following the loss of his crop.

The victim also reported the matter to a local crisis management center, Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria, ECCVN as the Center’s National Coordinator, Barr. Solomon Mwantiri narrated, “Information reached out that more than 40 Cows were found grazing on a Maize farm belonging to Mr. Datiri Danladi of Vwak hamlet in Jol community of Riyom Local Government Area, Plateau State.

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“The sad incident got to through phone call made by the victim who said, “my whole maize farm has been completely eaten up by cows this (Monday) evening, and the Divisional Police Headquarters of Riyom LGA has been informed about the mischief..” The intercepted cows will be handed to the appropriate authority for necessary actions.”

Mwantiri added, “This is one of the hundreds incidences of mischievous grazing the community and other neighbouring villages had suffered within Riyom LGA in 2020. By implication, there is bound to be a man-made hunger gravely looming amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which ought to have caused a restrain to the continued nefarious activities of the herders,” and called for restricted grazing around farmlands to avoid deliberate destruction of crops.

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However, the State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Gabriel Ubah said the Command has not received any report about the development but promised to make finding and get back but was yet to do so at the time of this report.

Patience Chaimang who is a Project Coordinator with Search for Common Ground stated, “I called the youth leader in the community, he said since the rainy season started, grazing on farmlands has also started. Because of the relative peace in Jol community, the herders that were not in that community are coming back to settle and moving their cattle close to homes to graze which the people do not want.

“Because of this, you see farmers stoning cattle even when they are just passing by and the herders retaliating. This is raising tempers because a lot of grazing are going on on farmlands and the farmers are stoning the herders. A meeting is being planned with strict adherence to the COVID-19 directives between the people of Jol and Fulani at Rankum who settled there and renamed the area Mahanga.

“There had to be a meeting to discuss this thing so that the stoning thing does not result into any loss of lives or lead to violence. Farming season has started, we don’t want to hear these things. I have told them conflict is bound to happen but they must find a common ground for settlement without any violence.”