Following frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers, the Abia State Police command has directed Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, in the state to set up conflict resolution committees to check the trend.
Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade who disclosed this at a townhall meeting in Aba, said the committees would include the Transition Committee chairmen of the council areas, traditional rulers as well as eminent persons from the communities who will work with the DPOs to ensure peaceful coexistence between herdsmen and farmers in the areas. This is even as the CP warned Policemen against extortion and checking of vehicle particulars on the highways. He also warned traditional rulers and community vigilante against collecting money from residents, and enjoined them to hand over suspects to the Police.
He said: “The DPOs have been directed to set up conflict resolution committees to check clashes between herdsmen and farmers. In Abia, we will use Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, mechanisms to ensure that peace reigns between herdsmen and farmers.
”If they disagree, the committee will ensure that they will agree. The committee will determine compensation to any party who loses his crops or animal. The DPOs have the transition committee chairmen, traditional rulers and eminent persons in their areas.
“Again, I don’t want to see any Policemen extorting money from motorists, don’t check vehicle particulars. If we want to check vehicle papers, it will be specifically for two days. I don’t want anybody to collect money for us. Policemen should not hide under tinted glass to extort money from motorists. No traditional ruler or vigilante is allowed to collect money.”
The CP further disclosed that he had directed the DPOs in the state to strategize with bank officials to ensure efficient security at all Automated Teller Machine, ATM, points in the state.
Oyebade, who explained that community policing remains the best way to combat crime, stressed that the vigilante men have enormous task in assisting the Police secure their communities and appealed to residents to be security conscious and alert the police over suspected movements in their areas.