By Anayo Okoli
FOLLOWING the raging attacks of communities across the country by Fulani Herdsmen, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the deployment of the State’s Vigilant outfit, Bakassi Boys to all rural communities of the State.
The Governor also directed all monarchs in the State to nominate 10 youths to the Local Government Commissioner to join a planned intensive training of the Bakassi vigilante for onward deployment to the rural communities. He said that they would assist in community policing under the supervision of the police.
Ikpeazu also mandated the law enforcement agencies to search and screen all trucks and vehicles conveying live stocks, food items and persons into the state from any part of the country as well as search and screen markets and settlements where live stocks and dealers are to ensure security.
The State Government has also constituted Farmers/Herdsmen Conflict Resolution Committee in the 17 Local Government Areas of the state to be headed by the Local Government chairmen with Divisional Police Officers in the councils, NSCDC heads, the DSS Local Government Chiefs, Chairmen of Traditional Rulers Council and Heads of Hausa communities in the councils as members.
Governor Ikpeazu’s action was prompted by a clash between solders and butchers in Aba which led to the killing of two butchers and almost led to an ethnic clash between Hausa/Fulani and other tribes.
A statement personally issued by the Governor himself stated thus: “My dear brothers and sisters, I have been informed of the very unfortunate incident that happened in Aba, the commercial town of our dear state today, where a solider killed a meat-seller at the popular abattoir located at the Ogbohill area of Aba. I condemn the act that led to the untimely death of this brother.
I associate myself with his family in this moment of pains and loss, even as I commiserate with traders in the market. The solider who perpetrated this act has been arrested and taken into custody. “I call on the people of Abia, especially those of us in Aba, to remain claim. I reassure all citizens of the state that the government is doing everything to protect lives and property of citizens from any attack.
“I have instructed and equipped security agencies in the state to ensure watertight security around our boarders and towns against any form of attack.
“I have directed that the men of the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS), popularly known as Bakassi, to commence, with immediate effect, a two week intensive training, for onward deployment to our communities to assist in community policing under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police.