By Festus Ahon & Egufe Yafugborhi
WARRI—GOVE-RNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said that the menace of herdsmen will continue to be a challenge to state governments unless the Federal Government comes up with appropriate laws to check the trend.
He also said that he had chosen not to deceive Deltans but to lead them on the path of truth.
Speaking during a separate town hall meetings with the people in Effurun and Otu-Jeremi, Uvwie and Ughelli South Local Government Areas of the state, respectively, Okowa noted that the state was passing through challenging times due to the economic recession in the country.
Lamenting that with the indices on ground, the current economic situation may not be over soon except God does wonders, he said that the price of oil has been down in the past three years, and urged the people to be prayerful and embrace peace to enable them build the Delta State of their dream.
At the town hall meeting in Effurun, Okowa wondered why some groups from a section of the country would be free to carry AK 47 rifles to kill with impunity while others are not allowed to even carry anything.
“We are aware that the National Assembly is doing its best, but we know that this has gone beyond legislation. We have lived with herdsmen before but what we are experiencing today is not what we used to see in the past and we are very worried.
“The legislation we are trying to put in place will soon come. But I will tell you that we do not have a strong policy because the Federal Government needs to find appropriate strategies as it still has full control of the security agencies.”
We are trying our best to work with them but there are limits.
“However, there are some of these herdsmen who are very good. They identify themselves with the community they reside and they have been very peaceful. The problem we have is with the ones carrying arms.
“They use these arms to not only destroy our crops but to engage in other crimes. We have been working with the Commissioner of Police and other security agencies to tackle the issue.”
On education, he said “We have fixed three technical colleges that are very functional and we have started to renovate the other three in the state because we know the importance of skill acquisition for the youths.
“I want to urge parents to take their children to the technical schools because, apart from the skills they will acquire, the schools still offer the same subjects done by other schools, we should equip our children to face the challenges of the future.”
Continuing, Okowa said, “In these town hall meetings, we should push away politics, it is a serious business, this is an opportunity for the people to know what we are doing, how we are managing their funds and an opportunity for our people to participate actively in government by telling us the truth, if we are doing well, the areas we need to improve on and what they need for us to build such into our programmes.”