By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE traditional ruler of Imiegba Community, Three, Ibie, in Etsako-East Local Government Area of Edo State, Mallam Usman Ikeme, (Odashi II), disclosed yesterday that the killings by herdsmen in communities across the country had justified his earlier decision to ban herdsmen from entering his community.
He however, attributed the killings to some traditional rulers who, according to him, prefer car gifts to the security of their people, insisting that he will not entertain herdsmen in any part of his community.
Speaking to journalists in his palace in Imiegba, the royal father said: “Going by the current attacks on farmlands in many places in Nigeria including Edo North, I am very happy that I declined herdsmen’s request to come here. Sometime ago, their leader, Alhaji Adamu Fulani, came here and asked for land for grazing and I told him I could not grant him his request and deny our people access to their farmlands.
“We share boundary with Ogbona and Iraokor in Etsako-Central LGA and Apana-Uzairue in Etsako-West LGA. Our farmland is our heritage and as a responsible ruler, I cannot give it out for grazing or any other extraneous purpose, not with the insecurity all over the place now.”
He appealed to other traditional rulers “who collect cow gifts from herdsmen and thereafter, give them accommodation and access to farmlands to change this act.
“Yes, we should love fellow human beings but have a moral duty to save our people from opportunistic attacks.”
On how he secures his domain, Odashi 11 said his vigilante and hunter groups were mobilised and proactive, “In 2015, we wrote to Police Division in Agenebode. The DPO then was Ogwoke Chris. We got approval for our vigilante group, which always collaborate with our hunters to safeguard our farmlands and territory. I’d like to use this medium to ask the government to give them due incentive to encourage them.”