By Emmanuel Elebeke
Oguta—The Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria, a Federal Government-recognized elite umbrella NGO of stakeholders in the oil, gas and solid mineral industry used the Muslim Eid-el-Kabir feast to kickstart dialogue between herders and host communities starting from the pilot states of Imo and Rivers.
Addressing a meeting of Muslims and their host Oguta community under the auspices of OMPALAN, the Oguta LGA security boss, Mr Lawrence thanked OMPALAN, Oguta District for organizing the peace meeting, urging both parties (Muslims and their host communities) to live as brothers and sisters.
Mr Lawrence said both herders and farmers, as well as all Nigerians, must be protected under the laws of the land to coexist peacefully and lawfully in any part of the Country.
Also speaking, the representative of the DPO, Oguta Police Command, ASP Celestine Egere, said his command has worked round the clock to douse tension between herders and their host communities in the LGA and promised to support the effort of OMPALAN to broker peace in the LGA.
Speaking during the occasion, the head of the Hausa/Fulani community in Oguta, Alhaji Ahmed Yahaya said he has been living and doing business in the community with other Muslims for over 25 years without any friction with the community. Alhaji Yahaya said he married from the community with six children two of who are currently in the university. Alh. Yahaya said he has never failed to intervene to restore calm whenever reports came to him that cattle were destroying crops in the LGA.
Meanwhile, in Isukwa community, Rivers State a similar stakeholders meeting was held under OMPALAN,
Ndoni District during which both communities (Muslims and host communities) stated their resolve to continue to live in peace as one united family.
At the meeting, the Chairman, OMPALAN Ndoni District, Ogochukwu Ochia and Head of the Muslim Community, Alh Mudi, thanked
OMPALAN for providing the interface for peaceful coexistence between Nigerians of all creeds and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to
come to their rescue in view of the devastating flood that has submerged significant parts of their communities such as Ndoni, Isukwa,
Utuechi, Utu, Ogbogene and Odugiri especially, in view of the fact that the Rivers State Government has not provided any form of succour to their communities.
Similarly, speaking to newsmen at Ilorin, the President of OMPALAN, Bishop Udo Azogu advised politicians to give peace a chance and stop stoking tensions across the Country. Azogu said he has inaugurated a high powered committee of eminent Nigerians called CHREBHAF to wade into the frequent and bloody herders/farmers crisis with a view to proffering a permanent solution to the crisis. Bishop Azogu advised those dissatisfied with the policies and programs of the current Buhari administration to deliver healthy opposition by proffering solutions to emerging challenges in the Country instead of condemning
every policy and program of government, warning that if this continues Nigerians will no longer take them seriously. Azogu advised the southern
Governors to be more flexible and accommodating on the issue of RUGA considering the positive impacts it has on the economy, unity, and stability of our nation. Azogu said his association will leverage on its robust grassroots orientation to support the effort of governments at all levels in enthroning the rule of law by providing an effective interface for dialogue between disputing parties. Bishop Azoguused the occasion to congratulate the Muslim faithful across the country on behalf of OMPALAN in their celebration of Eid-el-Kabir and urged them to use the occasion to support the rule of law and strengthen national integration.