There is a common sense of insecurity that is currently pervading almost every community in Delta State; it is the insecurity brought about by the unrestrained attacks on the communities by the rampaging terrorist Fulani herdsmen. The situation has become so grim that communities have out of total helplessness resorted to making shrill cries and strident calls for help against the wickedness and evil that is on the prowl in the villages.
There is no part of the three senatorial districts of Delta State that is not affected by the terrorist activities of these nomads. They have literally taken over the communities and farmlands.
It came to a head recently when the apex socio-political and cultural union of the Urhobos, the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) issued a statement decrying the evil that the activities of the terrorist Fulani herdsmen has become. UPU stated that the atrocities of the murderous bands of herdsmen can no longer be tolerated. It stated: “The killer herdsmen have established colonies and taken control of agricultural farmlands in many Urhobo communities, such as Eku, Igun, Uwheru, where they have constituted themselves into lords, confiscating lands and insisting on levies before any form of farming or fishing is allowed.”
According to the UPU, “At Ovre-Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area, over 2,000 well armed nomads have seized control of the forest and farmlands for their cattle to graze on, displaying valuable crops in the process.”
This type of account also run through all the towns and villages across Delta State, so much so that the usually quiet and reticent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had to brave the odds and made the feelings of his government known on the matter. Greatly disturbed by the unceasing attacks by Fulani herdsmen, the Governor called on the Federal Government to urgently introduce policies to end the menace. “Fulani herdsmen menace is a national challenge, something that is affecting all the States in the Federation.”
Governor Okowa feels so pained by the situation that he had to speak out the next day, even at a church thanksgiving service, declaring that Delta state will not support the establishment of grazing reserves. “Legislators cannot pass a bill that is unacceptable to the people,” he had said.
Not done the Governor announced that “We are also aware that most of the kidnapping in the State are being done by the Hausa-Fulanis in connivance with some of our people.”
Almost immediately, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, as if picking it up from where his boss, the Governor left off, called on the Federal Government to tackle the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the State and other parts of the country, so as to prevent total breakdown of law and order in the country.
We at Banneronline news.com associate ourselves with the great sense of indignation expressed by Governor Okowa against the evil being committed by the terrorist Fulani herdsmen against Deltans. Also,we concur with the Commissioner for Information that Fulani herdsmen have gone on a spree of wanton killings with a grand design to disposing our people of their lands and taking them over. We also associate with the statement that the Federal Government and the Police Command in Delta State have shown disinterest in nipping the evil situation in the bud by arresting and prosecuting the terrorist herdsmen, who regularly kill “our men, rape women, defile young girls in the farms, and feed their cattle with cassava, yams and other cash crops.”
The loud silence and ineffectiveness of the Police command in Delta state in this matter is a big surprise and quite unfortunate. Their attitude suggest that the terrorist Fulani herdsmen have been licensed to kill, maim, rape, destroy crops and take over the people’s lands.
The fallout of this evil is that the farms are now being deserted, as there is palpable fear in farmers to go to farm so as to save their dear lives. The result ultimately is already being experienced as garri has become almost a scarce commodity with the price of a modu now being sold for between N800 and N1,000.
Now that the Delta state Government is displeased with the situation, we ask that it should go beyond rhetoric and come out with a concrete and foolproof arrangement of curbing the dastardly and evil acts of the terrorist Fulani herdsmen, save the lives of Deltans, and provide them with a conducive atmosphere to engage in farming, as remain proud owners of their ancestral lands.
We therefore request that Governor Okowa and the Delta State House of Assembly should borrow a leaf from what Governor Ayodele Fayoe and the Ekiti State House of Assembly did that has, indeed, checked the activities of the terrorist nomads in their state. Today, there is peace among the farming communities in Ekiti State. We believe that this position is also the disposition of majority of Deltans who are greatly disturbed by the incessant killings of Deltans by these terrorist groups that behave more like an army of occupation.
We task Governor Okowa and his government to see to it that the safety of every Deltan in the towns, villages and in the farms is guaranteed, The Governor should ensure that no Delta land anywhere in the state is ceded to the terrorist groups. Fulani herdsmen cannot come from Futa jalon mountains in 21st century Nigeria and engage in forceful take-over of lands that belong rightly to Deltans. They cannot become landlord over Deltans. This is not possible.
We ask that something urgent should be done so that the patience of Deltan will not be made to run out, and so avoid a situation where people will be forced to resort to measure to defend themselves against these intruders from encroaching and forcefully taking over the ancestral lands of Deltans.