Residents of Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, under the banner of Save Ovia Group, has written a petition to the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to save them from the claw of criminal Fulani herders who operate without let in their communities killing, maiming and destroying their properties among many ‘sins’.
While on a protest march to the NUJ Press Centre in Benin the protesters spoke extensively about their plight.
According to the petitioners drawn from 13 communities in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, “we the peace-loving people of Okokhuo, Emah, Agemokpae, Iguohoro, Ugbokuli, Agekpanu, Okoghohon, Abumwenre Il, Ugboke, Ariyan, Okokodo, Oshodin, Iguogho, Igolo and other communities have today the 15th day of February, 2022, come out in our numbers to protest against the unprovoked attacks and killings by
“For decades, our people who are majorly involved in agricultural activities have lived peaceably amongst themselves without issues. We have coexisted with other tribes and ethnic nationalities in peace and unity, to the extent that they
enjoy indigenous rights and privileges.
“Lately we have come under heavy attacks from unidentified herdsmen who came through the forest, sacked the dwellers of some of the communities, burnt houses, destroyed household properties, burnt farms, caused their herds to feed on our farm produce. As if these where not enough, they have continued their unwholesome mindlessness by killing, maiming, rapingof innocent farmers who are out to seek for daily bread.
“Your Excellency, as we speak now, there is no single soul in Abumwenre II and Igolo community because these marauders have vowed to kill anyone who steps in there and have also made these communities their camps. It will interest you to know Your Excellency that people from these communities mentioned are now IDPs in other neighboring villages as they have had to scamper for their safety. Our people are faced with untold hunger, frustration and hopelessness because they can not go to their farms.where they have sown.
“Lastly, this distress call became necessary because the primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people which is defined in terms of life, property and liberty. Life must be preserved, properties must beprotected, liberty must be guaranteed and sustained. Now that this fundamental purpose is almost being defeated by the nefarious activities of these killer herdsmen, we entreat you as a matter of urgency to prevail on relevant security agencies i.e. the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security, the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria etc. to mobilize men and materials into these affected communities and forest with a view to flush out these killer herdsmen, thereby restoring peace to the land.
“We are by this letter volunteering to join forces with these security agencies in making sure they get appropriate information about the whereabout of these killer herdsmen.”
Responding to the protesters, Chairman of the Edo State Council of the NUJ, advised them to maintain the peaceful nature of their protest and avoid a situation whereby hoodlums will hijack the protest.
He disclosed that an executive bill to address the contentious issue of cattle grazing has been handed over to the state House of Assembly for consideration.