Motions on killings in Kogi State dominated plenary on Wednesday at the House of Representatives.
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Apparently, the coincidence of the motions served as appropriate reinforcement to their extreme importance and also revealed a worried-struck House. Members may not have had prior knowledge of them being listed on the Order Paper but everyone among them looked perturbed following the dimension the issues therein had assumed. And so, no one was surprised the issues dominated the session.
Specifically, the issues were the killings and public disturbances allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen across the country.
Subsumed under Matters of Public Importance and Substantive Motions, the House of Representatives, at plenary, last week, expressed concerns over the scores of deaths across the land.
Curiously, a unique spur was cast on Kogi which left the lawmakers in awe with rather negative impression that the State was fast sinking into an abyss.
Through a motion titled, “Urgent need for Federal Government to curb further attacks, killings and destruction of lives and property in Kogi and some other states in Nigeria”, sponsored by Hon. Emmanuel Egwu, the lawmakers unanimously agreed that urgent steps needed to be taken to halt the killings.
Egwu, in his submission, said, “Several killings, attacks, rapes on farmers, villagers, community leaders, innocent citizens by armed herdsmen in several parts of the country like Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Adamawa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Enugu,Ondo,Ekiti,Kogi states and many more, have become so rampant and alarming, both reported and unreported by the media”.
He went on: “There are several attacks by armed cattle herdsmen in Kogi in the last two weeks at Abejukolo, Bagaji Odo, Bagana,Ajokopi, Agbada 11,Ebeje-erabo,Edede,One Icheke in Omalla local government.
“Ogane-nigu, Agojeju in Dekina local government and Bass local government of Kogi State”.
The federal lawmaker had five prayers enshrined in the motion which included that the House should condemn the killings in Kogi, numbering about 32, and urge Federal Government to deploy more security operatives.
Egwu also asked his colleagues to urge NEMA to “as a matter of urgency send relief materials to affected areas.
“And set up an ad-hoc Committee to probe herdsmen incessant killings towards finding a lasting solution.
“I equally want the House to observe a minute silence for the souls of the departed”.
Yet in another motion titled, “Call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to Deploy Police Personnel to Dekina and Bassa Local Government Areas of Kogi State and to Establish a Police Outpost at Agojeju in Oganengwu Ward”, and sponsored by Hon. Benjamin Ikani Okolo,” the House deplored the killings.
Moving the motion, Okolo urged the House to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim to deploy security personnel to Dekina and Bassa Local Government Areas of Kogi State and also establish a Police Outpost at Agojeju Oganengwu Ward to check the activities of the marauding herdsmen to prevent further killings in the area.
He lamented the killing of innocent farmers in their numbers.
According to him, in the last 18 months, seven communities in Oganengwu Ward have been attacked by herdsmen and 55 deaths were recorded.
He stressed that the establishment of a police outpost will help curb the incessant killings.
He said: “The House notes that some communities in Oganengwu ward of Dekina Local Government Area and Akakana Ayede Ward in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State have come under severe attacks in the last 18 months, leading to several deaths and destruction of property; worried by the incessant killings of innocent, unarmed and defenceless farmers who are often butchered in cold blood by these well-armed herdsmen in their farms; also worried that in the last 18 months, seven communities in Oganengwu Ward have been attacked by herdsmen and 55 deaths were recorded; further worried that the people of Ofuwo-Omayeji in Bassa LGA and Aloko in Dekina LGA have also been under severe attacks in the few days and also 12 deaths were recorded; convinced that the establishment of a Police Post at Agojeju will assist to curb or possibly halt further mayhem in these communities”.
In adopting the motions, the House decided to set up an ad-hoc Committee to carry a national review of incessant herdsmen attacks, in a bid to provide lasting solutions to peaceful habitation of citizens especially where cattle rearing were carried out in Nigeria.
We need all inclusive public hearing-Hon. Karimi
Bemoaning the situation, Hon. Sunday Karimi, from Kogi State, said that Nigeria needed an all-inclusive public hearing where the legislature, executive and all the stakeholders would meet to dissect the problems and proffer permanent solutions.
He said: “This herdsmen problem is a national problem and there is a need for government rather than paying lip service to really call for a public hearing where the executive too will participate. It is not just a public hearing that will be handled by us alone in the House. Bring all security agencies. Bring traditional rulers, farmers association, miyetta Allah people, all stakeholders. There must be a national solution to that problem. You know, it is happening all over the place.
‘Govt not serious on issue’
“I believe this government is not even serious about some of these problems. This issue of cattle colony they are talking about, you know it was executive fiat decision. And executive fait decision cannot solve this problem. Call the people together for dialogue on this national menace and let’s proffer a homegrown solution. Every State is setting up its own law, saying anti-grazing; yes, they have to find a way to protect themselves but it is not working. With the law in Benue State, these people still defied the law and went in there.
Gov. Bello of Kogi State made careless statements
“Unfortunately, our governor is looking for cheap popularity. Remember he sided with them then when this problem stated in Benue; that they should come to Kogi and do grazing anywhere and all the traditional rulers must accept them into their domains. How can a governor make such public utterance? Once a governor makes a pronouncement in the media to try to get cheap popularity, because he has problems all over the place. He has lost touch with the people. And now, the problem has started in Kogi.”
The implication of these motions however is that both the Inspector-General of Police and the governor of Kogi State have more work in their hands than they could imagine. This means that more concrete efforts were required to get the work done. Enough of bloodbaths.