Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:36 pm
As the menace of herdsmen continues to generate tension nationwide, traditional rulers in six local government areas that make up Edo North senatorial district have called on the federal government to deploy soldiers as backup to areas prone to attacks in the area.
Edo North is made up of Akoko-Edo, Owan West, Owan East, Etsako West, Etsako East and Etsako Central local government areas.
Briefing journalists in Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West which is the senatorial headquarters on Thursday, the Otaru of Auchi, HRH Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelegbe III, said their women have been raped by the rampaging herdsmen on countless occasions.
According to the Monarch, the Nigerian Police possess inferior weapons to those carried by the herdsmen, which has resulted in unchallenged attacks in the area, just as he lamented that the vigilante groups that have in the past dared the criminally minded herdsmen have been demoralised due to irregular payment of their stipends apparently as a result of drop in government finances.
“We have a situation of the menace of Fulani herdsmen that have been operating and disturbing our farmers all over this place, it is increasingly very disturbing.
“Before now, herdsmen have always been coming, they have their routes they pass to the south and other parts over the years. But now there have been issues of destroyed farmlands or people being taken as hostages, kidnappers all over the place, that is something that we want government to do something.
“We are appealing to the federal government to ensure that soldiers are deployed to some of these areas because we now find that the police don’t have the armoury, they don’t have the strength to address or frontally attack these very serious and violent situation that we are into in this country. There have been serious kidnapping of people in this area and we want any any support by government to dislodge these violent people.
“We have also noticed that the mobility of the vigilantes operating to address this issue is becoming seriously diminished they are no longer paying their stipends, before now, this state government had taken it upon itself to paying them stipends every month but because I believe due to the dwindling fortunes of the state, we have this problem lingering.
“The issue of vigilante is very important, they are not allowed to use heavy weapons and even at that they would want to dare the situation when it happens, but they don’ t get the backing of the police as it were it has happened in Auchi recently and we don’t want our state to be declared unsafe. But even at that the weapons these herdsmen are using is sophisticated that is why I said we need soldiers to come to the aid of our people.
“When women were being raped and their farms destroyed, we decided to ask women not to go the to the farm again because we cannot afford to expose our women to such dastardly actions and experiences, what we then did was to give them N24,000 each to go and look for small business to at least keep them alive.
“So, we thought when these people were no longer seeing people in farms again, the women and others, maybe they will seize coming to the farm, but they now abandoned that and they are now coming to disturb people in their communities and kidnap them and extorting money for that. These people have become a threat not only in Edo north but all over the country,” the Monarch said.
He therefore urged the federal government to act urgently and decisively.
The author, Jethro Ibileke, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org