Obaseki im­poses 90-day ban on graz­ing in Edo com­mu­ni­ties

• Taraba govt, army dis­agree over with­drawal of troops

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Alexan­der Okere and Justin Ty­op­u­usu

EDO State Gov­er­nor God­win Obaseki on Sun­day an­nounced a ban on graz­ing in some com­mu­ni­ties at­tacked by sus­pected herds­men in the state.

The af­fected com­mu­ni­ties in­clude Odighi and Odiguete, in the Ovia North-east Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state.

Obaseki also or­dered the ar­rest of any erring herds­man dur­ing the pe­riod of the ban, which he said would last for 90 days to en­able the gov­ern­ment to iden­tify those law­fully al­lowed to graze in the ar­eas so as to pre­vent fur­ther at­tacks.

The gov­er­nor’s or­der came 48 hours af­ter res­i­dents of Odighi com­mu­nity protested at the Gov­ern­ment House against the killing of a pas­tor, the late Pius Ero­mosele, by sus­pected herds­men.

The pro­test­ers, who laid the cof­fin of the de­ceased at the en­trance to the Gov­ern­ment House, had called for the ar­rest and pros­e­cu­tion of the killers.

The re­mains of the pas­tor of the Church of God Mis­sion were said to have been found de­com­pos­ing in a bush dur­ing a search by hunters and vig­i­lance group mem­bers on April 2.

Speak­ing dur­ing a meet­ing with mem­bers of the Odighi, Owan and Odig­wuetue com­mu­ni­ties at the palace of the Eno­gie of Odighi, the gov­er­nor said the ban be­came nec­es­sary to stop fur­ther killings as the duty of his ad­min­is­tra­tion was to pro­tect the lives and prop­erty of the peo­ple.

He also stated that a spe­cial task force, com­pris­ing var­i­ous se­cu­rity agen­cies, would go round the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties within two weeks to get in­for­ma­tion that would help dis­lodge the crim­i­nals who posed as herds­men in the for­est.

Obaseki said, “We have set up a spe­cial task force made up of the Nige­rian Army, the Nige­ria Po­lice, the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices, hunters and vig­i­lance groups to comb bushes and dis­lodge squat­ter camps of killer herds­men and en­sure that no graz­ing takes place in Odighi, Odiguetue com­mu­ni­ties and their en­vi­rons.”

He stressed the need to sep­a­rate herds­men from cat­tle rustlers, whom he said stole cat­tle, in­vaded farms, raped and killed peo­ple, even as he as­sured that ef­forts were be­ing made to iden­tify the “real herds­men” in the state.

“Be­fore now, Fu­lani herds­men were known for car­ry­ing sticks around to con­trol their cat­tle. To­day, some of them have be­come crim­i­nals,” he added.

Obaseki also said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would boost agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties in Odighi com­mu­nity which was once known as the food bas­ket of the state.

He also pledged to fix the wa­ter sys­tem in the area and re­con­struct the old roads in the com­mu­nity to open up the area for de­vel­op­ment.

The gov­er­nor said, “We have taken the de­signs of the old roads in these ar­eas and in two weeks’ time, we will start the re­con­struc­tion of the roads. To­mor­row (Mon­day), gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials will be here to check the wa­ter sys­tem in the com­mu­ni­ties and fix it; so that the peo­ple will have ac­cess to potable wa­ter.

Herds­men killed four af­ter sol­dier’s with­drawal – Taraba LGA boss

The Chair­man of the Donga Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area, Nashuka Ipeyen, on Sun­day said four per­sons were killed in an at­tack at Sabon Gida hours af­ter sol­diers were with­drawn from the area.

Nashuka also said an in­ter­nally dis­placed per­son was slaugh­tered at Tu­nari, while three oth­ers were miss­ing af­ter they went to pack some of their valu­ables and get food­stuffs for their fam­i­lies.

“The pres­ence of the mo­bile po­lice per­son­nel de­ployed in the area, how­ever, pre­vented the at­tack­ers from raz­ing Sabon Gida vil­lage. I use this medium to ap­peal to the peo­ple to avoid go­ing to the hin­ter­lands un­til the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the area im­proves,” he said.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Chair­man of the Takum LGA, Shiban Tikari, has de­scribed as laugh­able, the state­ment by the Nige­rian Army that Mr. Dan­juma Amer­ica and Danasabe Gasama, ar­rested in the mid­dle of the night in Takum re­cently, were per­pe­tra­tors of crises in the Takum and Ussa coun­cil ar­eas of Taraba State.

The Di­rec­tor, Army Pub­lic Re­la­tions, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, had in a state­ment said Dan­juma and Gasama were ar­rested on Fri­day by troops de­ployed in a com­mu­nity in Takum for Op­er­a­tion Ayem Akpatuma fol­low­ing a tip-off.

Tikari urged the mil­i­tary to stop di­vert­ing at­ten­tion of Nige­ri­ans from the main is­sues of their com­plic­ity in the at­tacks and killings go­ing on in the state.

“We have been cry­ing on top of our voice that army op­er­a­tives of Op­er­a­tion Ayem Akpatuma were out for some­thing.

“How come they have not told Nige­ri­ans about the ar­rest of the mas­ter­mind of the at­tack in Jan­deikyula in the Wukari LGA where over 25 peo­ple were killed?

“They have not ar­rested those killing our peo­ple in vil­lages since the killings in Takum and Ussa. These two boys they have ar­rested are indi­genes of this area. Would they burn their houses and kill their own peo­ple?

Con­tin­ued on page 55

• Obaseki

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