By Vincent Ujumadu & Harris Emmanuel
…As S-East herders beg for better understanding
UYO—Akwa Ibom State government has warned marauding herdsmen not to infringe on the rights of people through their trade, expressing discontent over unprovoked attacks on residents of the state.
This came on a day South-East chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, pleaded for a better understanding in information dissemination, especially on the issue of his group’s relationship with other Nigerians to avoid misinformation, half-truths and outright falsehood the gullible public was often fed with.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State gave the warning, weekend, while commiserating with the family of late Mr. Francis Etor of Ikot Obio Nso in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, who was shot dead by suspected herdsmen in his farm.
The governor, who was represented on the occasion by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, condemned the dastardly act of the herdsmen and wondered why the cattle rearers attack harmless farmers in their own land.
He said: “Although we are peaceful and civilised in Akwa Ibom State, the elasticity of our patience is not infinite. As it is said in science, when the limit of elasticity is exhausted, there must be rupture.
“Cattle rearing is a noble trade, so is farming. Someone must not use his trade to infringe on another man’s trade, more so in his own land.
‘’We are not in animal kingdom where survival of the fittest is the order. We are in a society governed by the rule of law. The rights of our people must be respected.
“I am using this medium to call on the police, Department of State Service, DSS, and other security partners to ensure that those who perpetrated this dastardly act are apprehended and justice is served publicly. This is the only way the deceased’s family will have succour.’’
Mkpat Enin LG boss appeals for calm
Earlier, Chairman of Mkpat Enin council, Mr Ekanem Brown, commended the state government for its swift response and the personal visit of the SSG to condole with the victims of the crisis and Mkpat Enin people.
He said: “Dear governor, your personal visit through the SSG, speaks volumes of your love for Mkpat Enin people and the fact that we took the right decision by voting you for second tenure.
“SSG sir, we have been doing our best to calm the youths. Emotions were very high yesterday (Saturday) and I believe this visit will calm our youths.
“I join you to request that our security officials should not spare any effort at ensuring that justice is served. I, therefore, call on our youths and elders to remain peaceful.
“As we can see, peace has returned to the area. I reassure our visitors, investors and expatriates that Mkpat Enin is peaceful and we won’t allow any group to jeopardise that peace.”
S-East herders beg for better understanding
Meanwhile, the South-East chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, has pleaded for understanding in information dissemination, especially on the issue of his group’s relationship with other Nigerians, to avoid what he described as misinformation, half-truths and outright falsehood that the gullible public was often fed with.
In his Eid el-Kabir message, yesterday, Siddiki called on governments, traditional and religious leaders, as well as other influential groups in the South-East geopolitical zone not to relent in their advocacy for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians wherever they chose to live and ply their legitimate businesses.
He said: “I plead for truthfulness, fairness and restraints in information management so as to avoid tendencies of unfair blanket criminalisation of any group of people.
“I maintain that criminals, wherever they are identified, should be made to face the full wrath of the laws of the land. The safety of the citizens is the primary commitment of government in every country and it should be so in our country.
“I also want to use this opportunity to implore faith-based organisations and other reputable organisations in the South-East to consider us, the Fulani herdsmen, as any other rational human being when something happens, instead of indictments of the whole of us by the media or embark on protest on a matter that was not certain.
“We implore that they should first do a careful investigation before embarking on protest or rush to the media because if you go to the media and protest and it was later found that it is not Fulani, people that read the story and those who sympathise with you during the protest will not have the information on our accusation as being the perpetrators.
“By then, you would have poisoned the minds of people against the persons you first accused. I, therefore, pray that the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir prevails and continues to instruct our lives and our attitudes towards one another.”
He called for improved peace and understanding between cattle breeders’ host communities in the South-East and herdsmen who were genuinely engaged in the business of cattle rearing in the eastern part of Nigeria.
Siddiki, who noted that Eid el-Kabir was performed every year by Muslims all over the world in solemn remembrance of the sacrifice by Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son to Allah, admonished all to embrace the life of sacrifice as a way of recognizing the universality of the human family and the essence of accommodation and tolerance among the peoples of the world.
He also appreciated the governments and people of the South-East for providing the enabling environment for cattle breeders to successfully do their business in the geopolitical zone.