THE Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese in Anambra State, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, warned yesterday that the activities of herdsmen, whose cattle destroy farmlands, were undermining food production in the country.
Speaking during a church service to mark one year anniversary of 7th Anambra State House of Assembly, the cleric described the killer herders as a big threat capable of increasing hunger in the country.
According to him, if action was not taken to stop the killer herders, there would be famine with its attendant consequences.
He said: “We condemn the killing and harassment of innocent citizens in their farms in some agro communities across the country. Some of them are now scared of going to their farms to avoid being murdered by killer herders.
“We all know the economic implication of not having farm produce, which is that the prices of food items will increase and hunger will become the order of the day.
“I call on the Federal Government to rise to the occasion and put a stop to all forms of killing of innocent citizens in the country, including those who go to farms to produce food for our people.”
Lauds Anambra lawmakers for cordial relationship with executive arm
Ezeokafor commended the cordial relationship existing between the legislative and the executive arms of government in Anambra State which, he said, had resulted in peaceful progress in the development of the state.
He urged the lawmakers to be good representatives of their constituencies so that the dividends of democracy would get to the grassroots.
The Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Uche Okafor, while presenting a report of the legislature in the past one year commended colleagues for what he called their peaceful disposition in their relationship with the executive arm of government in the state, as well as their dedication to duty.
He said: “At the last count, no fewer than 80 resolutions touching diverse areas of our people’s welfare have been passed by the House. In the past one year, a total of 19 bills comprising executive and members’ bills have been introduced at the floor of the House. Of this number, 10 have been passed and five assented into law.”
Okafor said the lawmakers’ major target in the new legislative year was to put up a Legislative Budget and Research Office (LEBRO) that would also house a printing press for the purpose of having an outfit for expert budget review and analysis to promote good governance and regular publication of Hansard and other House periodicals.
Police cordon off bush to apprehend alleged killer herdsmen in Imo
Meantime, security operatives have cordoned off the bush around Umuepu, Agwa in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, where a farmer, Elder Uzoemena Iriaka was shot dead by suspected armed herdsmen.
The incident, which happened in the early hours of yesterday attracted the lawmaker representing Oguta state constituency, Frank Ugboma, alongside men of Nigeria Police Force, where Ugboma told the angry villagers that the security men had taken over the area to ensure that the culprits were arrested.
He pleaded with the villagers to be calm and cooperate with the security men on ground to enable them arrest the killers.
He said among other things that his people must get justice and that was the reason he came to see things for himself.
According to the lawmaker, “We want to tell you that your cry has reached the government. I called the commissioner of police this morning immediately you people told me about this story and the commissioner of police responded immediately and sent his men and now they are here. This is to show that we have a responsive government.”
Giving an account of what transpired, an indigene of the affected area who introduced himself as Hyginus Eziwanne, said they were busy doing a community work to control erosion within their area.”
And “When our people saw these herdsmen in the bush, some women and men approached them that they have been damaging their farms and pleaded with them to leave and after they agreed to leave and everybody started going home.
“Before you know it the herdsmen opened fire at us and shot this man, Uzoemena Iriaka, to death not only that they gave him a matchet cut and everybody ran away.”