President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said rehabilitation work is ongoing to operationise dilapidated and abandoned cattle ranches, as part of immediate measures to address the perennial clashes between crop farmers and nomadic herdsmen.
Presenting the State of the Nation Address to the 275-member Legislature yesterday, the President said: “We are rehabilitating the kraals or ranches that were abandoned after the Kufuor-led NPP government left office in 2009. They will become operational shortly, to provide secure, grazing places for cattle”.
In addition to this, he said, “efforts are also being intensified to find an ECOWAS-wide solution to an issue that goes beyond the boundaries of our country and is affecting the entire West African region”.
During the recent ‘Presidential Media Encounter’ at Flagstaff House, he said government is working on a comprehensive policy to bring to an end the recurrent development that has resulted in the loss of many lives and properties over a decade – especially around the country’s middle-belt.
He added that the proposals to set up these ranches will be extended to cover some parts of the Ashanti and Eastern Regions, which appear to be the source of movement for the herdsmen and their cattle.
But while at it, he noted, government is simultaneously working to put in place a comprehensive policy to deal with the situation that has troubled the country for many years now.
In the interim, President Akufo-Addo indicated that there some law and order measures which have to be taken to prevent violence and ensure that the activities of the herdsmen do not continue contrary to laws of the state.
He said: “We cannot overlook that, and they will have to continue until we get from them consistent behaviour that goes with respecting the country’s laws”.
Another issue being considered by government is how not to open the floodgates to herdsmen within the sub-region with implementation of an effective ranching system in the country, he stated.
It will be recalled that at the start of the year, 2018, a number of cases involving the herdsmen were recorded – including even the shooting of some security personnel at Agogo in the Asante Akim North district of the Ashanti Region.
Following a series of these incidents, an about-200 combined military and police force has been deployed to evacuate the Fulani nomads from the Asante Akyem North and Sekyere Afram Plains districts in the Ashanti Region.
This was after the Asante Akim North District Security Council resolved to forcibly evict all cattle in the area, in an attempt to enforce a high court ruling which ordered evacuation of the animals.
Some reports suggested that after an emergency DISEC meeting on Tuesday, January 9, the DCE for the area Francis Oti-Boateng, hinted of their resolution to shoot all cattle on site if the herdsmen do not comply with the evacuation directives.
The DCE is reported to have said that the Fulani herdsmen in the area were given an order five months ago to confine the animals in a ranch or take them away from the land. However, they failed to comply with the directive five months ago, hence the decision to evacuate them forcibly with the help of police and military.