• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Herders attack: CSOs urge Obaseki act urgently

Edo, Ondo, Delta, Ekiti to buy back shares, reorganise BEDC

Civil Society Organisations in Edo State have urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to take decisive action against the unending killings and attacks by suspected herdsmen in the state.

The CSOs noted that if urgent action is not taken, the state may be confronted with a repetition of the Benue and Plateau States saga, where inhabitants were purportedly displaced and communities reportedly renamed by herders.

It added that the continuous incidents of alleged herdsmen attacks in Edo, particularly Ovia North-East local government area, have further impoverished inhabitants, deprived many of the right to the means of sustenance of life, destabilised communities and induced a dependency on imported foods, thereby leading to high cost of food items.

Osagie Obayuwana, the National president, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), who told BusinessDay on Tuesday in Benin City ahead of the rally organised by CSOs, including the Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), which is slated for Wednesday, April 20, within the affected local government, envisaged that there would be more rallies and protests if the prevailing issues are not addressed.

Read also: Edo seeks labour’s partnership on public sector reforms

Obayuwana, a former commissioner for justice in Edo State and member of the organising committee for the scheduled rally, said the protest was to draw the attention of Nigerians over the recent attacks by suspected herdsmen in Ovia North-East communities namely Odiguetue, Odighi, Ofintebe, Igolo among others.

“In Ovia North-East local government, we have about 12 communities that have been hit like Odighi, Odiguetue, Igolo, Abumere I and II, and many others. People are being confronted in their farms. They are going from village to village, taking whatever property suits them. Some communities have been deserted; many of the inhabitants are now squatting with their relations in the city without livelihoods.

“It’s as if we are seeing a reenactment of what our people are suffering in Plateau and Benue States. This is the farming season; they cannot plant, they cannot tend to what has already been planted. Even the reminants from last year’s planting which they are yet to harvest, they cannot go and harvest what is ripe from their past toil.

“We are concerned about a repeat of what is going on in Benue and Plateau states in Edo, where what we are witnessing now is that communities that have been overrun are having new names being given to the communities. People have been driven away from their homes, and they are now being occupied by settlers.

“Humanity in Nigeria has come to accept mutual coexistence as the way forward; mutual coexistence between people of diverse religious beliefs and mutual coexistence between people of different ethnic groups. But, this is not what the herdsmen seek to do; they seek to take existing farmlands by force using arms. This is unacceptable because it is unjust.

“We, the Civil Society Organisations, refused to allow these developments to continue to unfold without raising our voices, and that is why the rally, scheduled within the local government council for Wednesday, April 20, 2022, will awaken all people of good conscience that they cannot be indifferent to this. We can’t be talking about electioneering at the expense of issues like these, “Obayuwana said.