OBIARUKU/Nigeria: The recent killings of farmers by Fulani herdsmen in Abraka Area of Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State which claimed the lives of three persons from the neigbouring Ukwuani Local Government had attracted condemnation by a social cultural group, which goes by the name, Ukwuani Social Improvement League, USIL.
In a press statement made available to Ndokwa Reporters, the group called on the government to wake up to its task of protecting the lives and properties of the people of Ukwuani, as the renewed attack on farmers will affect the economic fortunes of the area.
The statement which was signed by the Mr Chidi O. Uwabuofu, Chairman, Mr Nduka C. Osani, Secretary, Comr. Chukukuma M. Okujene, P.R.O, among others officers of the group, said that life is sacrosanct, and the government’s fundamental role is to protect lives and properties.
“Life is sacrosanct and government’s fundamental role is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens and to ensure that they don’t live in fear while going about their daily businesses. Any government which fails in this very regard could be termed an anti people government or a government that has lost its focus.”
“The frequent killing of Ukwuani farmers, the decimation of their farmlands and products by killer herdsmen is becoming increasingly worrisome and this is obviously at variance with the rationale for instituting government.”
Just a few days ago, specifically on the 9th of April 2019 three of our hardworking youths from Owah-Abbi in Ukwuani LGA were gunned down on their way to their respective farms by herdsmen.”
“Other Ukwuani communities like Obiaruku, Ossisa, Ndemili, Ogume, and Onitcha Ukwuani to mention but a few have frequently come under similar attacks in the recent past with scores of deaths and injuries.”
“We would like to ask why our people are being killed on regular basis in their farm lands and the government is seemingly doing nothing about it? When will the killings of our people stop.”
The group reminded the government of the peaceful nature of the people of Ukwuani, as they said that the unending killings are unacceptable, as the people have the right to be safe in their farmlands.
“Ukwuani people are naturally peaceful and their only means of subsistence is farming. Unless swift and deliberate actions are taken against these vandals and blood suckers, such barbaric attack on our innocent farmers in the future, may continue; our people may cease to find farming attractive and the worst case scenario is that they may even naturally cede their ancestral farmlands to wandering blood suckers as long as their lives are endangered, and that would be devastating to our general economic wellbeing.”
“These unending killings of our people are unacceptable. Our people have a right to be safe in their farm lands. We therefore urge the government at all level, especially federal and state governments to seriously look into the spate of killings of our farmers, both past and present, and bring those responsible to account for their crimes. The government must also demonstrate its fundamental role of saving lives with a view to ending these killings.”
“Government as a matter of urgency must disarm all herdsmen operating in our land. The reason why they keep taking undue advantage over our people is because they seemingly have the backing to be armed while our people do not have.”
“In the past, we hardly heard of herdsmen killings, and there was mutual respect between farmers and herdsmen but nowadays the herdsmen are always on the war path; rather than grazing their cattle on open grasslands, they now prefer grazing in people’s farms and on planted crops, they now harass and kill our farmers even without provocation because they are armed and our farmers are not. We are gradually losing our patience with government’s lackluster approach in handling these occurrences in Ukwuani land.”
“To restate, while we remain calm in maintaining peace and order, we urge government to step up efforts at arresting the menace of these herdsmen so that our people can go about their normal life without the fear of attack.”