Okowa, Cassidy Accuse Delta Communities Of Aiding Herdsmen
In what looks like the game of blame and accusation, the Delta State governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has laid heaps of culpabilities on communities in the state for aiding the nefarious activities of Fulani Herdsmen, accusing the communities of taking monetary remunerations from the cattle rustlers to secure lands in the various parts of the state.
Okowa said the nomadic herdsmen have operated without apprehension with the assistance of leaders and youths of various communities who collects fees and allot parcel of lands to them for settlement and grazing.
The governor who spoke Tuesday 7th February 2017 at the quarterly media interaction at the Press Centre, Government House, Asaba, said, “there is obviously a problem in Delta State. Until we are able to establish ranches where we are able to rear our cattle, we may not be able to solve this problem”.
The governor who noted that the herdsmen should be totally blamed hinted, “in some cases our people maybe blamed because some also invite them to the communities and show them lands as if it belongs to them whereas the lands belongs to other people but they would have collected money behind, which is a very unfortunate thing”.
“We have clashes with herdsmen and our people even yesterday, there was a deadly one where police actually moved into the bush in one of the places trying to get some of those herdsmen out and there was exchange of fire. It is very unfortunate the situation that we have at the moment”.
Also, the Special Assistant (SA) to the governor on security, Iloba Cassidy who aligned with the governor’s position said, “Our own people, youths too join with them to commit this crime because if a thief comes into your house, somebody will tell him this is the room. The problem is within all of us. I have so many evidences of our people who are involved, the youths are joining them. In some cases, the youths will collect money and give them grazing space”.
“If our youths and so-called traditional rulers don’t go there and collect money from them and give them grazing space, they cannot come their way”.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Zanna Ibrahim has corroborated that Fulani Herdsmen are in possession of fire arms, “they even come with prohibited fire arms which are been used to attack local farmers. This allegation is no more unfounded because the police can bear witness that in the recent attack on policemen, fire arms were used by the herdsmen. As I am speaking to you, the area commander, Ughelli, is still on his hospital bed with another police officer. So, that one is no more news, they actually carry fire arms”.
The CP gave the revelation at the Peace Meeting/ Dialogue With Leaders of Fulani Herdsmen in the state held at the Police Officers Mess, Okwe.
Some of the flash points identified by the Commissioner include, Uhvweru, Abraka, Ugbolu, Mossogar, Kwale, Obiaroku, Idjerhe, Eku, Ozoro, Osissa, Agadama, Ohoro among others.
While some of the entry points are: Illah, Udumuge-gboko, Agbor, Umutu, Abavo, Patani and the head bridge.
Governor Okowa since assumption of office in May 29th 2015 has refused to enact laws or policies that would prevent the activities of Fulani Herdsmen in the state despite the news of rape, kidnap and killing across the state by the cattle rustlers.