No land for cattle colony In Delta, says Okowa; decries FG’s inability to disarm herdsmen

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Delta State, Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has declared that the state does not have land for cattle colonies
The Governor made this declaration  yesterday (06/02/18) in Asaba while  addressing stakeholders at a meeting involving herdsmen, farmers, community leaders and Heads of security agencies.

He decried the inability of the Federal Government to disarm  armed herdsmen who perpetuate crimes and other vices. and called on the Federal Government to come up with a clear cut policy direction on this issue.

Governor Okowa said: “It’s very unfortunate where we have found ourselves as a nation. There is no doubt that there is a lot of pain when one’s source of of livelihood is destroyed. It can be very painful. And it is for us to find solution. And some of the herdsmen are armed, and there is no attempt being made to disarm the herdsmen. And this shows there is a major problem, while the obvious challenge is that nothing is being done to disarm the Fulani herdsmen.”

Earlier, some stake holders that included representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Delta State chapter, the royal fathers, farmers, civil society groups and members of Miyetti Allah, took time to make remarks on the issue of the menace of herdsmen and the solution to the problem. Rev. Gideon Oyibo, CAN Chairman, Delta State said: “Your Excellency., the issues before us have to do with rights/freedom and values of life. 
ROM 14: 21. It is better not to eat meat, wine or do anything that will cause your brother to stumble
I con. 8:9,13 Be careful that the exercise of of your rights/freedom do not cause your brother to fall…If the eating of meat will cause my brother to stumble, I Will rather stop eating of meat.

Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Military Head of State said in October last year that crisis between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the past one year led to death of 2,500 persons and displacement of 62,000 people in Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue states.
Speaking in Minna, Niger State on Monday, the former Head of State also disclosed that Nigeria lost $13.7billion within the same period.
Rev. Oyibo while pointing out that the situation is one of freedom vs the values of human life said:
“Experience has shown that the two parties cannot co-habit because their operations are parallel.
The only solution is to separate them completely that they do not have opportunity to come across themselves or interfere with each other’s source of living. My freedom should not bring tears, pains death, poverty, evil to other people’s lives.
“Those of them here do not have the capacity to control those in the farms/ bush
The fact that the problem still lingers on in spite of efforts made with huge resources committed, is a proof that the solution is still out of our reach. Total separation of the two parties for mutual benefits. Government should find a way that the farmers and the herdsmen do not come in contact with themselves.”

The ovie of Ozoro Kingdom, in his contribution, said the truth is that the Federal Government has no solution, not to talk of the state government. “The solution is home grown security solution. There should be identification of the foreigners among us. The Miyetti Allah are not in control. Asaba is not safe, my kingdom is not safe. The President has no solution, the Inspector General of Police has no solution, and the State Commissioner of Police has no solution. Solution lies in home grown solution,” His Royal Majesty said.

Imam Muhammadu speaking for Miyetti Allah, observed that his group is different from cattle rearers. “Miyetti Allah are people who buy and sell cattle. Miyetti Allah is different from cattle rearers. Chief Evans Ivwurie, a farmer and member of the Delta State House of Assembly representing Ethiope East said there are 11 homicide cases involving fulani herdsmen and that no single arrest has been made, but when a cow dies, the people are made to face the wrath of the police. What s going on is a special war war. This is a well organised action that is going on in the country.
“Three trailer loans of these herdsmen have entered our bush in Ethiope East. These are heartless people who take pride in slaughtering people like animals. I don’t see why the DPOs cannot be responsive by taking action before the herdsmen settle down in the bushes,” Ivwurie said.

Meanwhile, as part of interim measures to address the perennial clash between herdsmen, farmers and host communities, Governor Okowa directed Chairmen of local government councils to set up special task force on security comprising of necessary interest groups within one week.
The Governor expressed concern that often, the the herds of cattle are being led by a minor.
 “Some of those who are also looking after the cows are so young that most times, they are not able to take decisions concerning the cows, as long as they carry arms and ammunitions, there is a major security issues at stake”.

He used the occasion to buttress the fact that Delta State has no land for the Federal Government’s proposed cattle colonies, disclosing that most Deltans are moving to neighbouring Edo State to farm because of inadequate land in the state.
 “In the next one week, we need to have an interventionist committee on security in all the local government areas of the state while we await a definite policy direction from the Federal Government.Chairmen of the local government areas must ensure that names of members of the committee gets to the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) who is the Chairman of the Central Coordinating Committee and ensure that minutes of their inaugural meetings are also, sent to the SSG,” the Governor said, noting that it was wrong for anybody to hide under the guise of herdsmen to perpetuate crime in the state.” He said.

He emphasized, “the Nigerian constitution does not allow anyone to graze on somebody’s else farm, it does not permit you to forcefully take over someone’s house, we can co-exist as a people but, as we co-exist, there must be mutual respect for one another, whoever you are, when you engage in crime, the law takes its course.”
While calling for caution and peaceful co-existence among Deltans, Governor Okowa urged the Police and security agencies not to be compromised in ensuring justice for all, asserting that they should not allow the communities to lose confidence in their abilities to check crimes, especially those committed by herdsmen.
The Commissioner of Police, Delta State, Mr Muhammada Alhaji Mustapha assured Deltans that their security will not be compromised by the Police in ensuring peaceful co-existence in the state.
Those who spoke at the meeting including traditional rulers, farmers, Myetti Allah and Housa/Fulani representatives commended Governor Okowa for ensuring that the situation has not snowballed into major crisis despite issues of killings, rape of women, armed robberies, among other vices.
Some of those who spoke at the meeting called on the state government to take actions towards stoppage of grazing in the state, noting that the people could survive without beef and its bye-products while others stated that efforts should be geared towards peaceful co-existence in the state.

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