Determined to reduce clashes between herdsmen and communities in the state, the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa on 30/05/16 had a forum with stakeholders where carrying of offensive weapons by herdsmen was frowned at.
Present at the forum which had as its theme, “Fostering Peaceful Co-existence Between Farmers, Host Communities and Herdsmen in Delta State,” were representatives of traditional rulers’ council, communities, Farmers, Local Government Council Chairmen, Miyetti Allah, Miyetti Allah Kautu Hore, Cattle Dealers Association, Cattle Breeders Association, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Moslem Leaders, Civil Society Organisation, the Military, Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as Nigeria Imigration Service.
Governor Okowa while declaring the event which took place at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, open, urged participants to speak freely about the way out of the quagmire to ensure a peaceful state where the people co-exists and carry out their business activities without fear.
According to him, “issues of misunderstanding between the herdsmen and our communities have become worrisome in recent times and we don’t want it to continue, Deltans are hospitable people but, the would-be visitors to the state should know that they should live in peace with the people.”
“The communities are beginning to lose patience and I hope we will be able to speak frankly and in a peaceful manner for us to proffer ways forward,” he added.
At the meeting, it was resolved that security agents should be proactive and arrest anybody caught with AK 47 rifle and prosecute such persons; and that security agencies should be more vigilant at the Ohoro-Bomadi road to ensure that farmers and villagers move about freely without being attacked by the herdsmen.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Alkali Usman in his speech, called for tolerance, cooperation, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among the people and groups and the local communities noting that “four groups of persons can be categorised as herdsmen: cattle traders, cattle rearers, cattle breeders and the itinerant cattle rustlers; the groups can be nomadic and or sedentary in nature.”
There was free flow of information from the stakeholders as they bared their minds on likely suspects, causes of the attacks, their pains and likely solutions.