DR Akpo Mudiaga Odje is Human Rights activist and constitutional lawyer. He is an indigene of Evwreni in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
In this interview, he spoke on the renewed herdsmen attacks on Uwheru villages.
On your take on renewed herdsmen attack on Uwheru villages.
‘’The recent series of unprovoked attacks on our Uwheru Community in Ughelli North Local Government of Delta State by herders has further corroborated our call on governors of the Niger Delta in particular, to urgently set up their own security outfits by passing laws in their respective Houses of Assembly to give same legal backing.
‘’The strong and unrefuted allegation that the herdsmen were aided by soldiers in their unrestrained belligerence and recurring decimal of arson, rape and murder unleashed in the community must be independently investigated and any person found culpable should be prosecuted.
‘’The Uwheru community has been perpetually held under siege by these bloodthirsty marauders who are now terrorising our beloved state and the citizens of our country.
‘’We have been watching and ruminating with paralysing suspicion over the nefarious activities of these herders who are apparently on an expansionist gale to conquer the Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta and even majority tribes of the country.
‘’The blame is squarely to be placed on the doorsteps of Federal Government for these criminal infractions. The Federal Government should, as a matter of urgent national interest and integration, take immediate and prompt steps to protect every community in this country.
‘’The primary purpose of government under Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution is to: promote the welfare and security of the people!”
On the role of state governments
‘’States should emulate the South West which is now commendably enacting laws to back up their Amotekun security outfit, to also establish their own respective security outfits, especially in the Niger Delta.
‘’They should also profile and register with identity cards issued to all herders in their states through the local councils and communities they operate in. The clashes are mainly on farmlands and crops of the communities and as such, community policing and sensitization should be ongoing as for now, whilst the police have to be supported in terms of logistics to ward off these attacks.
On Delta State govt’s position on herders’ attacks
‘’Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa must be commended for his courageous stand and condemnation of these mindless attacks on Uwheru community as he has retrospectively remained constantly forthright in speaking the truth on this recent attack, stating that the herders were assisted by men of the armed forces.
‘’The governor must have got credible security reports before making that very commendable presentation on behalf of the stricken and devastated people of Uwheru community.
On the role of community policing, locals, vigilantes, youths
‘’The vigilantes, collaborating with the communities, locals and even hunters with our teeming youths must now form a synergy by which they can repel these attacks and arrest the herders.
On his take on the Federal Government handling of the security of the country
‘’The Federal Government has so far failed woefully short of the Constitutional order to promote the security of its people and as such, these herders are now capitalising on this lethargy to inflict mayhem on peaceful and hardworking communities. ‘’We request the Federal Government to forthwith outlaw open grazing and nomadic grazing for now, until there is genuine national reconciliation and integration.
Visa on Arrival Policy
‘’The Visa On Arrival Policy is an engine to fuel more importation of herders into this country and we all will be worse of for it. That policy needs an immediate reversal for national security and our collective existence as a nation.
‘’We say no to Ruga! As that policy will be tantamount to “Robbing Peter to pay Paul!”
‘’The security apparatus of the country must thus be re-engineered and re-focused as well as better equipped to tackle these herders! They should be totally disarmed! The time to act is now, Mr President!’’