Police on the trail of fleeing armed herdsmen in Delta
By Nosa Akenzua,
Delta state police command says it will deal decisively with herders found with guns, such as AK-47s among others in the state. police commissioner in the state, Ari Muhammad Ali who confirmed this to journalists in the state said”
Henceforth, every herder found bearing AK-47 or any form of guns will be criminalised”. He explained that as cattle are important to herders so are crops important to farmers stressing that there was need for mutual respect.
After listening to the complaints and suggestions of both the herders and farmers at a meeting he held with them, the commissioner of police said that Delta state police command will not tolerate anybody bearing AK-47 rifles in the name of cattle rearing as herdsmen are not known to carry AK-47 rifle. He said these set of people are criminals and must be treated as such.
Ali, said that any Fulani herdsman spotted with AK-47 or any rifle whatsoever, would be arrested and treated like a criminal. He said they should not be tolerated because tolerating them means adding to the already tensed security situation in the country.
Addressing all stakeholders, he assured the entire state that criminally-minded herders will never have a free ride under his watch as they will be made to face the wrath of the law.
The CP then advised all stakeholders present that activities of the herders who bear arms must be monitored, checkmated and reported to the Police immediately. He noted that there was need for statistical record on the influx of cattle in the state.
The well-attended meeting had Delta state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by Mr. David Tonwe, the DG on security in the state, all DPOs, prominent natives, most herders among others. The DG in his speech made it clear that the purpose for the crucial meeting is to discuss issues that will bring about peaceful coexistence between the herders and farmers. He said that it is very important for them to live in peace and set a good example for others to follow.
A statement signed by the Delta state acting police public relations officer, PPRO, DSP Bright Edafe noted that all herders would henceforth be registered and bear identification card as a way of identifying criminal-minded herders from peace-loving ones.
Suggestions made by both the herders and farmers present included: documenting the statistic of cows that enters the state, all herders in the state should have an identity card, underage boys should not be allowed to herd cattle, night grazing should be banned completely, herders that live and stay in Delta state should be differentiated from herders that came from neighbouring state, and herders advised to stop taking their cows to people’s farm.