There is tension in some parts of Bayelsa State following a looming clash between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state.
It was learnt that the farmers were angry at the activities of the herdsmen who allegedly allowed their cows to graze in their farmland destroying their crops.
The development was reportedly breeding bad blood between the herdsmen and the farmers with angry youths in some of the areas threatening to confront the cattle rearers.
Already, the herders and the farmers were said to have clashed with some of them sustaining injuries.
To avert a repeat occurrence, advocacy groups, Nigeria Reconciliation and Stability Project (NRSP) of the British Council and the Bayelsa State Peace and Conflict Management Alliance (BSPCMA) waded into the controversy at the weekend.
The groups decried the way farmers were being attacked by the Fulani herdsmen across the country.
The leader, BSPCMA, Mrs Elizabeth Egbe, who spoke after the meeting in Yenagoa, with farmers and victims of the attack in the state said there was a need to find a lasting solution to the increasing attack.
She said that the attacks on farmers by the Fulani herdsmen in the state were calling on the relevant authorities to step up action to avert the recurring situation.
Egbe said: “Our move to check conflict between herdsmen and communities in the state has become necessary in order to ensure more 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 Bayelsa such as 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.
“The farmers, who were attacked are here with us; some of them were beaten up and left with bruises recently while in their farms and some were cut with knives.
“We have had a meeting with the security agencies to tackle the issue here in Bayelsa. 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.”
One of the farmers and victim of the attack, Mrs. Margret Samuel, said during the attack, she was given a knife cut on her hand.
She urged the government to protect the farmers against cruel attacks by Fulani herdsmen through an enabling law.
“My hands were nearly cut off by the herdsmen during a recent attack. The attack was cruel and it must not be allowed to continue.
“I was suprised when I saw a group of herdsmen in my farm on that faitful day and before I could say a word, they started beating me,” Samuel alleged.
One of the herdsmen at the meeting, Suleman Abubakar, said that those fueling the attack were not herdsmen based in Bayelsa.
Abubakar said: “I do not know where the attacks are coming from because I have never been part of it. I move my cows from place to place and do not find people’s trouble. I can tell you emphatically that we (herdsmen) in Bayelsa don’t know who is causing the problem in the state.
“Those causing the trouble in Bayelsa are not herdsmen based here. We suggest that the relevant authorities should carry out more investigation to unravel those behind the dastardly act