Urge to curtail incursion of criminal herdsmen in Delta
Says Delta’ll not adopt anti-open grazing bill
By Festus Ahon – Asaba
As part of an effort to secure lives and property of Deltans and non Deltans alike, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday, donated the first batch of 35 Nissan vans to security agencies in the state.
Making the presentation, Okowa, urged the security agencies to curtail the incursion of criminal elements among Fulani herdsmen in the state.
He said the state would not adopt the anti-open grazing bill as a solution to the incessant clashes between nomadic herdsmen and sedentary farmers, insisting that there were better ways of dealing with the clashes, which according to him, have been yielding results in the state.
Saying what was required was to improve on the existing security architecture and synergy between the relevant stakeholders, Okowa said the state does not need a uniform security mechanism like Amotekun in South-West.
The Governor said there was the need to be careful in order not to adopt laws that would be at variance with the laws of the Federal Government, saying “the South-West states have studied their peculiar security situation and decided to adopt what is best for them”.
He, however, stressed the need to strengthen community policing, commending the Inspector General of Police for being at the forefront in advocating for community policing as the best security mechanism to address crime across the country.
Expressing concerns about the brazen attitude of criminally-minded herdsmen who invade communities and attempt to take over farmlands brandishing AK 47 assault rifles, the Governor said the Federal Government has a lot to do in addressing the security issues.
“As it concerns herdsmen menace, on the part of the federal government, a lot needs to be done, we need strong statements on what should be done for the security agencies to further do their work.
“If you are going into any particular place, it is only just fair that you don’t walk into a community and take seizure of the place, that is not right; and for anybody who carries arms in the name of being a herdsman, it is obviously wrong, they are not licensed to carry arms, not to talk about AK 47 assault rifles and anyone has seen carrying arms is a criminal.
“Beyond those that carry arms, you don’t walk into a farm and begin to graze on the farmland, that is not the way it should be, so, there are a whole lot of issues and we need a strong voice from the federal authorities which will assist the security agencies”.
Okowa thanked the leadership of the various security agencies in the state, as well as the different traditional rulers for uniting the people and securing the communities through information sharing, and urged them to improve on it.
He said: “In this state, we will continue to do the best that we can, a lot of criminals have been apprehended and one thing that we have said is that we are not giving any land for settlement; so, we need to continue to work hard and to liaise with other state governments in the south-south zone and also at the national level to ensure that we are able to achieve a more conducive environment for investments to take place.
“I want to first of all thank the leadership of the various security agencies here and to urge them to continue to do more particularly in this dry season; we need to find ways to curtail the criminalities that are involved because we do know that there are some of the herdsmen who are civil in their approach; we are also aware that there are Hausa/Fulanis who have been in Delta State for decades.
However, the criminal elements who are out there trying to maim our people must be apprehended so that they can enable the warm relationship that existed between us and those who have been settlers over several years in this state to continue to be at peace with each other.
“It is on this note that I will formally handover the vehicles to security agencies realizing that as the years go by the various vehicles that they have begins to wear out and we thought that it was necessary to begin a process of replacement to improve on their ability to move from one point to the other and this morning for a start we are going to give 35 pick up vans for the various security outfits and we hope that we can be able to add a few more in the next few weeks.
“I want to use this opportunity to appreciate what they have been doing because, I do know that we have some security challenges, and we know that the incidence of criminal activities have grossly reduced in the last few months and I want to urge that the partnership between the security agencies must continue to be strengthened.
There is a need for us to continue to share intelligence and to work together as a team because that will definitely help us to further achieve peace in this state”
He, however, thanked the security outfits for their efforts to keep the State safe and peaceful. Speaking on behalf of the security agencies, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the gesture and assured that the vehicles would be fully utilised and maintained.
The Brigade Commander 63 Brigade Nigeria Army, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Jallo, Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Inuwa Hafiz and the State Director of State Security Services, SSS Ademola Adebiyi, received the vehicles on behalf of the security agencies.