Ebonyi State governor, Chief David Umahi at the weekend said herdsmen attacks are affecting the people of the state, especially at this farming reason.
He also vowed that his administration will not be deterred from producing a quality rice that will be consumed by all Nigerians.
Umahi, who made this known in Abakaliki while briefing journalists, said the state government had plans to boost Agriculture and that it cannot be stopped by herdsmen.
Umahi, represented by the commissioner for Agriculture and natural resources, Mr Emmanuel Ikechukwu Nwobo, said that almost all rice produced in Nigeria comes from Ebonyi state.
He said: “We cannot run away from accepting that the herdsmen attacks is a menace to the country. In every part of Nigeria, there is a problem of herdsmen destroying the farm lands of our people.
“But, that will not stop us from farming. We are of the opinion that the policies adopted currently by the President Mohammadu Buhari led administration may by the grace of God douse the menace of attacks.
“When you come to Ebonyi state, the problem of herdsmen attacks is also affecting us. This is because majority of them loiter around communities in Ebonyi trying to feed their cows. And while loitering, they destroy our crops.
“We are trying to create a symbiotic relationship, where herdsmen will exist, so, also the farmers. Here in Ebonyi state, the governor, Chief David Umahi monitors the herdsmen activities closely.
“He makes sure that the herdsmen do not constitute a nuisance to their host communities or villages. I cannot say that farmers should not farm, just because we are facing herdsmen havocs. If this happens, it means we are finished and there will be problem.
“The policy of Ebonyi state government do not give room for herdsmen to operate violently. There is a link between the herdsmen and the state, local government areas and Development centres.
“Herdsmen are not allowed to move from one local government area to another without the permission of the host community heads. If hersdmen who are foreigners enter here, the resident herdsmen will raise alarm.
“Herdsmen who are foreigners, should be monitored. This will help in preventing further attacks of the herdsmen who invade our rural areas. Herdsmen have been existing in many part of Nigeria before now. But, It is unfortunate, we now have a different herdsmen who move around with intention to kill and maim people. I don’t think that this type who kill and destroy people’s properties are real herdsmen.
“This type of Herdsmen are terrorists. The real Herdsmen don’t attack their host communities. When I was small, herdsmen were living in my father’s compound and they never attacked us or our village.
“In fact, they have not told us the reason behind the recent attacks by people who claim to be Herdsmen. There is a cover-up, by using the name herdsmen. One day they must tell us the meaning of this group, that moves about killing and maiming innocent Nigerians.
“They are yet to tell us the reason why this group are attacking innocent Nigerians. I think that there is a cover-up somewhere. How can they be moving around with AK 47 instead of a stick? I tell you these people are not the real Herdsmen. I know that the real ones do not attack their host. This terrorist group should be prevented from mixing up with the real Herdsmen.
“I urge that the real Herdsmen should be at alert to resist the invasion of terrorist group who claims to be Herdsmen,” he stated.