By Iduozee Paul, Benin
Following the constant killing of citizens in his locality, the chairman of Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Hon. Sylvester Okoro has issued a 14-day ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen operating in his council area to quit or face legal action for killings and destroying farmlands belonging to his people.
Hon. Okoro equally reiterated his stand on the vacation notice earlier given the herdsmen in Orhionmwon.
The council boss who, spoke shortly after a meeting at the instance of the Edo State commissioner of police presided over by the deputy commissioner of police, Ayodeji Faniyan,to address the matter, said the council cannot be intimidated into submitting the lives of Orhionmwon residents on the altar of patronage as he officially swore to protect their lives and properties as chairman.
Okoro while acknowledging pleas from the chambers of Olayiwola Afolabi, a counsel, on the need to cooperate in ensuring a holistic documentation of genuine herders, lamented the role of the police in putting the cart before the horse, working more in the interest of the herdsmen.
He put DCP Ayodeji Faniyan on notice against the latter’s position that not even the state governor can order the vacation of herdsmen from a locality let alone a council chairman, depicting clear bias in favour of over 15 mobilized leaders of the Fulani herdsmen who, hitherto never honoured invitation to security meetings at the council.
“The position of the council is unambiguous. We have given the Fulani herdsmen two weeks to vacate the local government to enable us carry out a proper documentation of the genuine herdsmen. They approached us for a one week extension which has elapsed,” the local government chairman stated.
Okoro stated that the recalcitrance of the herdsmen leaders and their open rejection by community leaders in Orhionmwon is a match towards anarchy which the police is expected to prevent rather than ignore.
He promised further actions towards making sure that the steps taken by the council is implemented to the letter, including involvement of the state government.
According to the chief press secretary to the council, Roy Osareimen, Fulani herdsmen have destroyed farm crops in more than 27 communities in the area.
He said they rape girls and women and have killed farmers on their way to their farms with machetes and AK 47 and other dangerous weapons pointing out, that the Fulani herdsmen have sponsors who embolden them to carry out their atrocities.