Paul Osuyi, Asaba
There are indications that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, has ordered the Commissioner of Police in Delta State, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, to dislodge suspected herdsmen who had held three communities hostage in the state.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had, last week, raised the alarm that three communities in Uwheru clan, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state, were under siege by suspected herdsmen who created a parralel government by forcing farmers to pay levies before accessing their farms.
Fielding questions from journalists, on Wednesday, in Asaba, Governor Okowa said the police commissioner had taken the message to the IGP, adding something was being done which will not be of public knowledge at the moment.
The governor also expressed concern over the sensitive nature of the menace, confirming that the issue had reached the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, for consideration.
“Some decisions had been taken on the matter by the IGP and at state security council meeting which I cannot possibly disclose because of its security nature. It is a very pathetic situation when the President-General of Uwheru spoke on the fact that they pay herdsmen before they can enter their farms,” he said.
He explained that the affected communities had been under siege for years, urging the committee, headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on National Food Security, to be proactive to prevent the country from food shortage.
“If we must continue with agriculture, we must address the threat posed by the herdsmen. If not for the intervention by the Delta State Peace Building and Advisory Council, their issue and the inter-communal disputes, would have assumed a dangerous dimension in the state,” Okowa added.
He said the state is awaiting policy direction that can help curb herdsmen killings, maiming, rape and extortion, and end their incessant clash with farmers, from the Federal Government.
On the age long Ogbe-Ijaw/Aladja inter communal crisis that has claimed several lives, the governor said his administration was on the verge of implementing the recommendations of the five-man panel led by Prof. Abednego Ekoko.
According to him, government would implement the recommendation to divide the disputed land between the warring communities, adding that it will not be proper for government to take over the land as it will deprive indigenes of the communities of the means of livelihood.