Obiano Declares Total War On  Itinerant Herdsmen, Warns Traditional Rulers

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

It was at the security summit held at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre Awka that Governor Willie Obiano said  enough is enough for killer herdsmen who lay ambush in Anambra forests in the guise of cattle rearing to unleash terror and mayhem on communities. Thus, villagers flee from their homes and farmlands over fear of being raped, maimed, killed and properties destroyed.

Though an interactive session with traditional rulers, town union leaders, youth organisations, security agencies as well as other strata of the society, Governor Obiano with an emotion-ladened voice stated vehemently that henceforth everyone especially the security agencies should treat any cattleman or men bearing AK47 rifles as criminals and should be apprehended forthwith.

Obiano said, “At the inception of my administration in 2014, I signed the vigilante law where the Igwe is the Chairman and the President-General is the secretary. Other members include Divisional Police Officers, youth leaders and others.

“I have encouraged the Igwes to bring the youths in the village onboard because they really help a lot. I have also advised the traditional rulers to let somebody be in-charge of youths in their cabinets to enable them to know what is happening in the communities.

“We have ensured that the law enforcement agencies are very effective and efficient. I have also spent fortune in providing vehicles. Since I became governor I have bought over 562 vehicles for security agencies in the state.

“In the last two and half years, security agencies have been taking fuel free of charge from designated petrol stations across the state where government pays. Every police vehicle you see on our roads is fuelled by the governor.”

The governor also pointed out that the vigilante is an important arm of the security architecture in the state and that his government has done the needful by paying them and providing logistics for them too to ensure that they have no reasons whatsoever not to secure and protect the communities from malignant forces like killer itinerant cattlemen.

He said, “We will no longer allow itinerant herdsmen to pass through Anambra state because we don’t know their routes. They are the people that rape, kill and destroy our farmlands. I have directed the Army and other security agencies to deploy more men in areas where we have seen flashes of trouble. I have also asked the Igwes to be part of the safety and security in their respective communities.

“Any traditional ruler aiding and abetting criminality in his community will have his certificate withdrawn from him,” Obiano warned.

The governor also warned that there was absolutely no reason to recycle criminals and that any person known to constitute havoc should be apprehended and remanded at the correctional centres, stressing that the police should help to ensure that criminal elements were not recycled at their various stations.

He however recalled that in late 2015, his administration established what he called the Cattle Menace Committee headed by the state commissioner of police. He said the committee had ensured amicable resolutions where cattle destroyed crops and vice versa.

Obiano however stressed that he would not advise that people should take laws into their hands in the event of any trespass by herdsmen but seek the platform of the cattle menace committee to resolve issues.

He said a census of the real cattle rearers residing in Anambra had been taken in the past but mandated the state commissioner of police to conduct another census of herdsmen in the state in order to identify them through their names, residential address, phone numbers and what have you to aid police intelligence gathering on their operations.

The governor said, “I want to make it clear to Ndi-Anambra that after the census, we will never allow itinerant herdsmen to enter Anambra again. Any herdsman with AK47 rifle is an armed-robber. We do not tolerate carrying of arms by herdsmen in Anambra.”

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