As stakeholders seek prosecution of arms bearing herdsmen
By Festus Ahon
ASABA—AS part of efforts to tackle the security challenge posed by Fulani herdsmen, the Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, held a meeting with all stakeholders, stressing the need for peaceful coexistence.
The meeting at the unity hall in the Government House, had in attendance representatives of traditional rulers’ council, communities, farmers, local government council chairmen, Miyetti Allah, Miyetti Allah Kautu Hore, cattle dealers association, cattle breeders association, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Moslem leaders, civil society organisation, the Military, Police, Department of State Security, DSS and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, as well as Nigeria Imigration Service. The stakeholders frowned at a situation where herdsmen carry offensive weapons.
Declaring the meeting opened, Okowa charged participants to speak freely about the way out of the quagmire to ensure a peaceful state where the people co-exist and carry out their business activities without fear.
The governor said: “Issues of misunderstanding between the herdsmen and our communities have become worrisome in recent times and we don’t want it to continue. Deltans are hospitable people but, the would-be visitors to the state should know that they should live in peace with the people. The communities are beginning to lose patience and I hope we will be able to speak frankly and in a peaceful manner for us to proffer the way forward.”
At the meeting, which lasted several hours, it was resolved that security agents should be proactive and arrest anybody caught with AK 47 rifle and prosecute such persons and that security agencies should be more vigilant on the Ohoro-Bomadi Road, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state to ensure that farmers and villagers move about freely without being attacked by the herdsmen.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Alkali Usman, called for tolerance, cooperation, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among the people, groups and the local communities , saying that “four groups of persons can be categorised as herdsmen: cattle traders, cattle rearers, cattle breeders and the itinerant cattle rustlers; the groups can be nomadic and or sedentary in nature.”