Onicha Local Govt Begins Profiling To End Farmers, Herdsmen Clash… Ivo Council Set for Forest Guard
By Oginyi Ruth and Eze Moses O.
To curb the recurring tension between farmers and herdsmen in Onicha Isu, the Chairman of Onicha Local Government Area, Engr. Felix Ogbonnaya Igboke has re-launched aggressive registration (profiling) of herdsmen living in the area as a way of stemming farmers’and herdsmen’s periodic clashes.
Engr. Igboke, disclosed this after a security meeting held in Onicha Isu, last week, said that the profiling which followed the directive of the state governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi to avoid the clashes witnessed in other parts of the country between farmers and herdsmen which have claimed lots of lives.
He explained that it had been a difficult task to profile the herdsmen, as many of them had refused to comply with the exercise, but assured that he had put a mechanism in place to ensure the successful profiling and for easy tracking of criminals.
According to him, by constantly engaging herdsmen residing in a given area will provide the opportunity to know their influx and exit. By so doing, the activities of the herdsmen would be brought under control with recourse on the existing law.
He said, “The profiling we are talking about will help us a lot because we have looked and sometimes we do not know where they settle until problems arise.”
“It is not easy to deal with these people, because whenever you call for such meetings, it is always their leaders that will come and we have been emphasizing that whenever we call for such meeting, they should equally go and call meeting of their people, the laborers and tell them the decisions of government.”
“Our Governor has done so much on this issue of herdsmen to the extent of even bringing down the national president of Miyetti Allah for a town hall meeting here in Ebonyi state and there is a law that regulates farmers and herdsmen in the state which the national chairman of Myetti Allah leadership signed.”
“One of these laws is that they are not allowed to migrate at night. Again is that they are not allowed to migrate on foot to any place at all in the state. If you are coming into the state, you will have to notify the state government, the security agencies that you are coming from a place and you are settling at a place among other laws.”
“Of course, the farmers are warned not to kill the cows of the Fulanis, the same way the Fulanis are warned not to destroy the crops of our farmers, because if you kill a Fulani cow you will be arrested and made to pay for damages, it is vice versa, when a Fulani allows their cattle to destroy the farm of a farmer, the Fulani will pay for it,” Igboke explained.
On rape cases allegedly connected with the herders, the council boss said he’s sure one Fulani is still in prison in connection to a rape case.
He said, “I am sure one of the Fulanis is still in prison because of that, but some of them ran away. When you ask their leaders, they will say he is a laborer that he has run away. That is why we said we have to know every Fulani herdsmen residing in our LGA.”
Similarly, the Executive Chairman of Ivo Local Government Area, Hon. Ogbonnaya Chukwu Ude has called on the Ivo indigenes to cooperate with special security squad inaugurated to guard their forest areas and their communities.
He made this call at the council headquarters, Isiaka while inaugurating the newly appointed forest guards, Anti-cult groups and Special Assistants to the Chairman on security matters
The Chairman said that the appointment is in line with the directive of the Governor, Engr. David Umahi to all the council chairmen in the state to curb the activities of Fulani herdsmen, cultists and other security issues facing the state and the council in particular.
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Hon. Ude disclosed that the members of the group were selected through the traditional rulers and other stakeholders who know the security flashpoints of the council and expressed his belief that they will enjoy maximum co-operation from the people.
He noted that they are to serve as a special security squad with other security arrangements in the council like the Neighbourhood watch, vigilante and other conventional security agencies to curb the activities the Fulani herdsmen who destroy their farmlands and other forest areas and other criminal activities usually witnessed in the council.
He further said that they were given brand new motorcycles to enable them to move around the council and do their work effectively. And that it also serves as a kind of empowerment to the people adding that he is very happy that the people are happy about it.
He advised the people to always give the group early information on any criminal activities so that they will, in turn, inform the police and other security agencies and ensure peace and security within their communities.
In their separate reactions, some of the stakeholders of the council like; Comrade Leonard Nkah, the state NLC Chairman, Hon. Emmanuel Orji and Hon. Ejem Jona Ifeanyi, former Technical Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security said that move is a welcome idea by the Governor of Ebonyi State to ensure peace and security in the state. And that it will help the people to always sleep with their two eyes closed
They urged the people to see their appointments as an honor done them and work effectively to curb the activities of criminals, herdsmen, and cultists in the council.