By Ushang Ewa
The senator representing Cross River South in the red floor of the national assembly, Gershom Bassey has berated the federal government over the lingering crisis between herdsmen and local farmers.
Senator Gershom in an interview with Vanguard also chided the National Boundary Commission (NBC) of being responsible for the clash between communities in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State and the neighboring community in Akwa Ibom state.
“I think as long as we are losing lives on this issue, then clearly enough hasn’t been done, that is the issue. As long as on a particular issue we are losing lives and we keep losing lives, whether it is in Enugu State, whether it is in Cross River State, wherever it is, then there is a problem and that problem has not been solved,” Gershom said while commenting on the herdsmen attack in Obio Usiere community in Odukpani which is his constituency.
“So, I will urge the federal government to spend more time and resources and focus more on this problem because the problem keeps recurring and we keep losing lives, that needs to stop,” he added.
When asked whether designated grazing land will curb the menace, he said; “You know what we agreed in the senate is that this problem is a local problem and those problems should be resolved by the state governments.
“So I don’t know about a permanent grazing area and I am not sure that that will be the permanent solution because while you are trying to please one party, you may be displeasing another party. So you have to be very careful when you start talking about permanent gracing area, because we have a community who is aggrieved.”
He spoke on steps being taken to solve the problem; “We have spoken to the Obong Asang and we have engaged him thoroughly and he has actually provided a lot of information to us. We are trying to see what best line of action to take because we want to put a permanent resolution to this problem.
“That is why we are taking our time and being very deliberate to ensure that we get all the facts right. Yes we have condemned it but I think what is beyond that is how to solve the problem. I have engaged with the member of the House of Assembly, Honorable Akiba who has already raised the motion on the floor of the State House of Assembly.
“We are engaging with the state government as well to find out how jointly we can bring a permanent end to this problem. It is a problem that has been reoccurring, this is not the first time, it has happened several times before and we want to get to the bottom of this once and for all.”
On the clashes between Oku – Iboku and Ikot Offiong, he said, “Let me use this medium again to call on the boundary commission to come and delineate those boundaries very clearly.
“Already there is a deployment of security personnel to that area to keep the peace. We call on the National Boundary Commission to come and delineate the place in line with the Supreme Court judgment which clearly made pronouncements on those boundaries. That was the first flash point.”
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