Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday in Asaba said the state will not adopt the anti-open grazing as a solution to the incessant clashes between nomadic herdsmen and sedentary farmers.
Okowa said there were better ways of dealing with the clashes which, according to him, have been yielding results in the state, noting that what was required was to improve on the existing security architecture and synergy between the relevant stakeholders.
Speaking while presenting 35 new Hilux vans to security agencies in the state, the governor also stated that the state does not need a uniform security mechanism like Amotekun in South-West.
According to him, there was a need to be careful in order not to adopt laws that would be at variance with the laws of the Federal Government, adding that the South-West states have studied their peculiar security situation and decided to adopted what was best for them.
He emphasized the need to strengthen community policing and commended the Inspector-General of Police for being at the forefront in advocating for community policing as the best security mechanism to address crime across the country.
Okowa stated that Delta was not in isolation as far as the security challenges affecting Nigeria were concerned, adding however that incidents of herders/farmers clashes, armed robbery, kidnapping and cultism were on the decline in the last few months.
Expressing concerns about the brazen attitude of criminally-minded herdsmen who invade communities and attempt to take over farmlands brandishing AK 47 assault rifles, the governor said the Federal Government has a lot to do in addressing the security issues.
“As it concerns herdsmen menace, on the part of the federal government, a lot needs to be done, we need strong statements on what should be done for the security agencies to further do their work.
“If you are going into any particular place, it is only just fair that you don’t walk into a community and take seizure of the place, that is not right; and for anybody who carries arms in the name of being a herdsman, it is obviously wrong, they are not licensed to carry arms, not to talk about AK 47 assault rifles, and anyone seen carrying arms is a criminal.
“Beyond those that carry arms, you don’t walk into a farm and begin to graze on the farmland, that is not the way it should be. So there are a whole lot of issues and we need a strong voice from the federal authorities which will assist the security agencies,” he said.
Okowa thanked the leadership of the various security agencies in the state, as well as the different traditional rulers for uniting the people and securing the communities through information sharing, urging them to improve on it.
Responding on behalf of other security agencies, the state Commission of Police, Mr Hafiz Inuwa, appreciated the state government for the gesture, adding that the vehicles would boost efforts at securing the state.
Inuwa assured that the vehicles will be put to good use and maintained.