By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Federal Government has said the ECOWAS Conference protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services holding this month in Abuja will address the incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes in the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau after the Federal Executive Council Meeting presided over by vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential Villa, Abuja.
He explained that the whole idea of the conference is to look at the issue of movements across borders .
He observed that the protocol provided that any of such movement, of trans-human should be received at the reception center by the host country .
Noting that the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol will reduce the incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes, he said it will also reduce cattle rustling.
He explained “Of course, it bothers us. Particularly, us in the ministry of interior since we have immigration under our supervision and we have the responsibility on border security even though we have other services like the Nigerian Customs.
And this is why we initiated the conference that is to come up between 26th and 29th of this month under the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services. Zeroing particularly on the protocol of trans-humans which was signed in 1978 and we are yet to implement them.
I had meeting with the president ECOWAS commission, the one that left and we agreed to have this conference sometimes last month but they were leaving, and the new set of management coming in, it was shifted to towards the end of this month.
The whole idea is to look at this issue of movement across borders. The protocol provided for instance, that any of such movement, of trans-human should be received at the reception center by the host country and there international trans-human certificate are supposed to guide them.
And not only that, they should also go along with international health certificates for the cattle they are going with.
So, if somebody comes in with 10 cattle for instance, and if he is going out with 20, you have to ask him questions because of the issue of cattle rustling.
“We will also be able to know that the animals he is bringing do not carry disease. We also want to be sure that they obey the laws of the country to the latter.
He also stated that the government has zero tolerance for herdsmen bearing arms saying it is not part of the ECOWAS Protocol.
He added “the issue of carrying of arms because it is a no go area, we have zero tolerance to that because it is not part of the protocol.
“So, these are the issues that will be discussed at a high level ministerial conference which involves all ministers responsible for internal security and agriculture in all these countries, the fifteen ECOWAS countries plus some of these countries in Central Africa, particular, Chad, Cameroun and Central African Republic.
” And also, it will involve Mauritania and Morocco. Mr. President has graciously agreed to open the conference on 26th, so it is of great concern to us.
The minister also dismissed speculations that the Shites sect are planning to attack Abuja.
“Well, I am not sure of where that alert is coming from. You know that these days, you have to be very mindful of these things in the social media. It is like I saw one yesterday saying that there is going to be nuclear attack in the United Kingdom and this was broadcast by the BBC, and it is fake.
So, you have to be very very careful with that. But I want to reassure you that law and order exist within the society and the FCT minister is very aware and is on top of it because of what happened recently.
The commissioner of police is aware and is part of it. About some people attacking or not, I think is something that we have to be cautious of where such information is coming from. If there is anything like that, you will get it from official sources. As at now, there is nothing like that because the police is handling that.
You must have listened to the news last night and this morning, the commissioner of police FCT came out to speak and he assured all residents of FCT of security of lives and property,” he stated .