Herdsmen’s Migration: Bracing Up To To Check Illegal Incursion

UNLESS more concerted efforts are made by Delta
State Government, the state may be invaded by
herdsmen and criminals migrating from states
of the federation that have implemented the Anti-Open
Grazing Law. While some of them are already finding their
way into parts of the state, it behooves on security agents
and officials of the state to step up security measures to
checkmate illegal incursion by unwanted agents.
Already, one of the attempts to sneak into Delta State
by the herdsmen and suspected criminals migrating
from other states in the wake of the implementation of
the Anti-Open Grazing Laws was resisted by the newly
inaugurated Peace Committee on Farmers/Herdsmen in
the state. However, to guarantee and sustain the existing
peace, especially peaceful coexistence, in the state, those
entering the state must be identified and guided in order
to sift bad elements.
They need to be educated on our way of life and how to
live peacefully with the indigenes and avoid acts that could
lead to altercation and subsequent bloodshed.
The Pointer investigation revealed that the invaders are
using some outlets or boundaries that were porous but
now identified by members of the committee who are now
resisting themfrom entry. The boundaries are located in
Illah, Oshimili North local government area, Abudu in Edo
State but close to Alifekede in Ika South local government
area and Agadama and Ohoror communities in Uwheru
Kingdom, Ughelli North local government area.
The Peace Committee on Farmers/Herdsmen, inaugurated
by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim,
has reportedly visited some communities, intimating the
residents on the need to be vigilances and inform the
authority of movements by herdsmen.
The essence of the visits was to ensure that face off
between farmers and herdsmen are nipped in the bud
before it escalates.
Mr. Ibrahim, while inaugurating the committee, headed
by Ogbueshi Cassidy Iloba, the Senior Special Assistant to
the Governor on Security, said the committee was constituted
to promote harmonious relationship between farmers
and herdsmen in the state. According to him, the committee
should also act as an Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR) of conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.
The commissioner of police further charged the members
“to ensure that they pro-actively nip in the bud any
tendencies that would bring about such misunderstanding
between communities and Herdsmen likely to cause the
breach of the peace in the State”.
The police boss, while expressed the hope that the committee
will help to reduce tensions arising from herdsmen/
farmers’ clashes in the state, urged them to work hard to
guarantee the reign of peace in the State.
In an interview with Ogbueshi Iloba, he underscored
the important of the committee and expressed the belief
that much would be achieved in the area of peace in the
state.
He recalled that the state had witnessed killings and
clashes between farmers and herdsmen who take over
farm lands, destroying crops and attacking owners. The
chairman said that while the law permits anybody to do
business. Anywhere in Nigeria, it does not permit breach
of peace, unlawful assault on residents or destruction of
property According to him, the committee has been gathering information
through reliable informants and acting on them appropriately,
revealing that last week, more than 20, 000 cows that
were being herded into Delta State through the Illah axis of the
state were stopped. He said their intervention has continued to
yield result and assurances to communities that the state was
protecting them.
He further recalled that the state had enjoyed relative peace for
some time now as a result of the interest of the governor, Senator
Ifeanyi Okowa, to guarantee peace in all parts of the state.
On how the committee was operating, he explained that members
were selected from all parts of the state, including resident
nomadic Fulanis who have assisted the state and committee on
getting information concerning activities of miscreants among
them.
Besides operation targeted at herdsmen entry into the state,
he said resident Fulanis have been helpful in identifying armed
robbers and kidnappers that had committed heinous crimes in the state, stressing that all those arrested were being investigated
by the police.
Furthermore, Ogbueshi Iloba stated that residents of prone
communities have been helpful as the committee had charged
them to help in stopping herdsmen from entering the state
through provision of information on their movement. He said
resident Fulanis have been warned that once their allow others
or miscreants to infiltrate into the state, all of them would be
treated as miscreants.
According to him, indigenes of the various community outlets,
including Illah, Agadama and Ogoror, have also been charged to
continue to cooperate in efforts to stop Herdsmen from invading
the state.
On the necessity of the Anti-Open Grazing Law, Ogbueshi
Cassidy said Delta State House of Assembly needed to expedite
action on passing the Bill so that the state can be safe.
“We need the law in the state because some of these herdsmen
are mischievous”, he said.