The issue of terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen has become an issue of national concern in the past one year. From Agatu to Nimbo back to Zaki-Biam, the story is the same; wanton killings, maiming, rape, armed robbery, destruction of farmlands etc. are carried out by these terrorists on a daily and sustained basis.
In Delta state, the atrocities of these herdsmen terrorists have made farmers to desert their farms while several communities have been sacked and the remnants of the people now live in fear of these AK-47 wielding marauders.
It has been the consensus of critical stakeholders and analysts that the aura of invincibility with which these ragtag terrorists operate must be based upon a collusion with powers in high places.
It therefore came as a welcome development when Honourable Chief Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, the member representing Ethiope East State constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly raised the alarm recently that from reports at his disposal, these Fulani-Herdsmen terrorists have established a large base in Delta State, specifically in the desert plain lying between Ovr’e Abraka/Igun/Eku communities. He went on to state that these marauders were being supplied with food, Medicaid and perhaps sophisticated ammunition by unmarked low-flying helicopters periodically.
This startling revelation by Hon. Ivwurie which ordinarily could have been applauded by the security agencies, has brought Chief Ivwurie in direct confrontation with the entire security apparatchik who were quick to dismiss his claim as unfounded and as a mere rumour. But the people are not in the least deceived by this attitude and posturing by the security agencies.
As though to justify the unlawful occupation cum annexation by these fulani herdsmen terrorists, the Delta State Police Image maker DSP Aniamaka unabashedly stated thus, “Needless to state that Ovre-Abraka, a forest reserve area, is temporarily inhabited by a minimal number of herdsmen, who have been living peacefully with the community.”
This unsolicited response or better still defence by the Police raises several posers such as, if it is conceded that Ovr’e Abraka/Igun/Eku is a Forest reserve;
- What are herdsmen doing in an area proclaimed to be a reserve?
- Is it reserved for the marauding herdsmen to create a terrorist base?
- Who gave these herdsmen the permission to set up homes/camps in the area?
These are valid questions for the Police authorities to answer.
The Fulani by nature are known for their nomadic lifestyle. In the view of the Police, the Forest reserve is just a temporary habitation, but in the eyes of these herdsmen, they have found a firma terra, a base from which they may launch their expansionist and destructive agenda.
As though the action of the police was not enough, the Department of State Services (DSS) has also entered the fray by inviting Hon. Ivwurie to come and disclose the source of his findings.
Observers are of the view that if the energies being dissipated by these Law Enforcement Agents in questioning Hon. Ivwurie are channeled into a dispassionate investigation into this allegation, the fulani-herdsmen terrorists would have been sacked from their safe haven.
Thus far, the lukewarm and jaundiced attitude of the security agencies to this simmering security threat is akin to sitting on a loaded keg of gunpowder. At best, they seem confused and are in complete disarray as a dubious child just caught in the act.
If proper preemptive actions are taken by the security agencies, this singular action by Chief Ivwurie may have saved the entire Delta State from the ugly fate that befell Agatu community. No doubt, Hon. Ivwurie is a listening representative whose heart beats for the welfare of his people. It has also solidified and reinforced the place of Hon. Ivwurie as the true voice of the Urhobo nation unlike certain self-acclaimed political generals who would keep mute in the face of life threatening situations such as this for the sake of political correctness.
Particular mention must be made of the ominous silence of chieftains of the ruling APC in the state. The proof of political clout goes beyond electioneering. It includes how that a politician’s influence is employed to protect the interest of the people. What the Senator representing Delta Central District has failed to do, owing to his affinity with the APC-led Federal Government is what Chief Ivwurie has done and keeps doing to the admiration of all Deltans and Nigerians.
It would be recalled that about a year ago, Chief Ivwurie at the head of a crack team comprised of men of the Nigeria Police Force, his political aides, local vigilante and civilian volunteers embarked on a manhunt to rid Ethiope East Local Government of these terrorists.
Recently, a World Press Conference was held at the Palace of Ovie of Oruarivie-Abraka Kingdom, HRM Akpomeyoma Majoroh, Ojeta II, at Abraka, where Hon Ivwurie called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of State Security (DSS) the Chief of Defence Staff and heads of other security agencies to come to the rescue of Ethiope East over the incessant killings, kidnapping, rapping and destruction of farmland by Fulani Herdsmen in Ovr’e Abraka/Eku/Igun by Ak47 Rifle-wielding Fulani Herdsmen.
Ivwurie who almost broke down in tears while giving his speech, said, “As I speak, my heart is bleeding; I am shedding tears struggling to hold back. I saw this morning many victims families and children whose fathers and mothers have been killed by the herdsmen, children without fathers and mothers, wives without husbands and husbands without wives, children whose parent went to their farm and never returned back as a result of been killed by these blood sucking Fulani herdsmen in their own ancestral and sacred land.”
Also, as chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Ivwurie and his committee are in the final stages of churning out a law with a bid to criminalize the activities of these terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen.
Hon. Ivwurie must therefore be commended by all Deltans for his efforts which has now rejigged the counter-insurgency operations by the DSS and other security agencies in the area surrounding the terrorist base in Delta State.
This is the sad story of Ethiope East people today. The most painful thing is to live a life that you don’t want to live. All Glory to God who has energized Hon. (Chief) Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, the ebullient and eloquent lawmaker who is on a rescue mission for the Peace of Ethiope East and Delta State.