Thursday, 19 April 2018

Herdsmen demanding money from crop farmers before they could access their farms— Ifeanyi Okowa cries out

Indications emerged on Wednesday that
steps have been to tackle the nagging
issue of herdsmen/farmers clashes in
parts of Delta State when two military
helicopters were sighted hovering over
Ughelli and its environs.
Besides, several military vehicles were
seen patrolling the communities, in what
was learnt to be part of a two-day special
combined operation of the Joint Task
Force codenamed Operation Delta State
(ODS), officials of the Department of State
Security and the police.
The development, however threw
residents into panic, leading to temporary
halt of socio-economic activities.
Residents who noticed the presence of
the military and the two hovering chopper
confirmed the incident. They added that
the sight of security operatives created
tension and fears among residents.
It would be recalled that the state
governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa raised alarm
that herdsmen had taken over
communities in Ughelli where they were
demanding money from crop farmers
before they could access their farms.
Our correspondent learnt that the
operation was targeted at discovering
herdsmen’s camps in the area with a view
to dislodging the blood tasty goons.
Security sources informed that the two-
day operation would include aerial and
land surveillance.
Residents in Uwheru, Agadama and
Ohoro, which have been under attack by
herdsmen, said heavily armed security
personnel in military vehicles stormed
their communities and menacingly
patrolled the streets.
They claimed that their communities and
others have suffered sustained attacks by
herdsmen, leading to the killing of several
persons with farmers being deprived from
entering farmlands by suspected arms
wielding herdsmen.
A top security source who does not want
to named confirmed the operation, and
said the exercise was not unconnected
with the spate of attacks by suspected
herdsmen in the area.
The source stated that although they were
able to uncover herdsmen hideout, the
hoodlums had allegedly fled their camps
before the arrival of the security team.
Contacted in Asaba, the State Police
Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew
Aniamaka also confirmed the
development, and added that it was a
surveillance exercise at ensuring peace
reigned in the area, urging residents to
remain calm.
According to him, “Everything that must
be done within the law must be done to
ensure that the people sleep with their
eyes closed. It is the duty of the
government and security agencies to
ensure that the people feel safe.”

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