Delta community alleges incessant attacks by herdsmen

• Bayelsa warns against politicising grazing area designation
• Says security implications informed decision, not politics

The Ossissa community near Asaba in Delta State has appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to help stop the alleged incessant attacks on them by suspected Fulani herdsmen operating in the area.

The leader of the group, Chief Johnson Akwue, said they could no longer go to their farmlands for fear of the unknown perpetuated by the herdsmen.

Okowa, while addressing the people of the community, said the menace of herdsmen was not peculiar to the state, but a national issue, which was being tackled.

According to him: “The herdsmen’s menace is a problem across the whole country, as over 22 states in the federation are having this problem.

“Until we are able to establish ranches to rear cattle, we will continue to have this problem. We expect that people should be reasonable in what they do. They should not just walk into any farm that has crops and start grazing their cattle.

“In as much as we cannot stop them from grazing, they should be reasonable.”

The governor, who disclosed that his administration had taken measures to tackle security challenges in the state, said: “We have inaugurated peace and advocacy committee which is headed by the deputy governor of the state and it has continued to engage our youths and our elders in the Creeks”.

In another development, the Bayelsa State Government has warned against the politicisation of government’s decision to designate the Bayelsa palm as a grazing site for Fulani herdsmen and their cattle.

The Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor on Security Matters, Chief (Dr.) Boma Spero-Jack, noted that the security implications of the decision outweigh the political consideration and should be treated as such.

According to him, the government had deliberately set up the committee on the management and control of ranches, which included representatives of the various arms of the security agencies, youths, traditional rulers and other relevant groups because of the need to properly monitor the activities of the herdsmen, with a view to ensuring that they do not breach the existing security, law and order in the state.

Spero-Jack, therefore, debunked the alleged report credited to Ijaw human rights activist and frontline campaigner for resource control, Annkio Briggs, that Governor Seriake Dickson donated land belonging to the Ijaw Nation to Fulani herdsmen to graze their cattle.

He described the alleged claim as spurious, misinformed, an act of mischief and a deliberate attempt to paint the governor in bad light.

While condemning the calls for protest against the governor, he said Dickson did not at any time donate land to Fulani herdsmen, but rather provided a land space at the Bayelsa palm area to restrict the herdsmen and prevent their cattle from straying about and destroying peoples’ farmlands and crops.

He stressed that the government took the decision to avoid any conflict that could arise between the herdsmen and Bayelsans as a result of their grazing activities.

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