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Published On: Mon, Jun 11th, 2018

Havoc Of Fulani Herdsmen And Plight Of Internally Displaced Persons In Urhobo Community


By Young Erhiurhoro
LAGOS JUNE 11TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The incessant killings of poor farmers and innocent children and raping of married women and under aged girls and the destructions of entire hamlets and villages by setting them ablaze in the Niger Delta region especially in Uwheru Kingdom in Ughelli North LGA of Delta state by the itinerant Fulani herdsmen is no longer news to our representatives in both the Delta state government and the federal government in general. In recent times, both the print and social media was awash over different reports of crises between herders and farmers in many parts of the country.
However, my major concern in this discourse is to draw the attention of both the Delta state government and the federal government to the plight of Uwheru people as a result of killings and destructions of farms by these Fulani herdsmen.
Uwheru Kingdom is one of the recognized twenty-four kingdoms in Urhobo land. Uwheru people are peace-loving people and also accommodating to even strangers. By natural endowments, Uwheru people are surrounded by grasslands, rivers/rivulets, virgin forests, farmlands, oil/gas deposits and other numerous natural resources. By virtue of the above, majority of Uwheru people are itinerant and subsistent farmers. Some part of the population are into annual food cropping like cassava, groundnut, sweet potato etc. Others are into itinerant fishing within the numerous chains of rivers and rivulets surrounding the area and timber processing from the various forests in the land.
Despite their huge contributions to the economies of both Delta state and Nigeria, Uwheru is one of the poorest developed places across the state. They are the least beneficiaries of dividends of democracy across the state since 1999. There is virtually nothing to write home about in Uwheru and its many villages.
Frankly speaking, the evil activities of these Fulani herdsmen hacked upon our people is seriously a case for concern by the Delta state government and the Buhari led federal government. In fact, I don’t just know the possible way to draw the attention of the government to the plight of Uwheru people especially farmers that were perpetually and deliberately deprived and displaced of their means of feeding and caring for their families. Should Uwheru people shout or embark on a peaceful protest to either Asaba or Abuja? Members of the Delta state house of assembly, members of the house of representatives and the senator repressing us must provide answers to the above question as fast as possible. The plight and awful agonies the Uwheru people are passing through is no joke. Buhari and Okowa must do something now unless, they want to tell us that Uwheru is not part of Nigeria. We can’t fold our hands and seal our lips, seeing our people being roasted like corns and chicken everyday. We must talk, whether they will hear us or not. This article will therefore serve as a witness to fight their injustice and oppression upon Uwheru people in the next general elections as they still prepared to come back to government.
May be, somebody may doubt what I’m saying, then I want to persuade Governor Okowa just to tour round Uwheru main community and its over fifteen adjoining villages and hamlets of Ohoror, Agadama, Owarovwo, Ogode, Oreba, Ovwororo, Avwon and many others and let him see things for himself. Governor Okowa should not rely on mere and fictitious reports being doctored by gratuitous politicians from the same Uwheru communities. The cases of Avwon and Ovwororo are even more devastating. These are two full grown communities inhabited by responsible human beings and not just animals or slaves. But today, the two communities are nothing more than ghosts and mountains of yesterday. The day I visited these two communities, I couldn’t find mouth to cry. There was no single human being in the two communities again. The whole place had turned to be communities of animals. These were once booming and bubbling communities with high level of social life.
To make matters worse, it is now I believe that President Buhari has a hidden agenda in this government against the people of the Niger Delta region. If not so, similar clashes and crises between the Fulani herdsmen and some states in the north and the middle belt regions had occurred as well. It didn’t take the president much time to attend to the needs of such victims by establishing well equipped IDP camps in such places. Those that were rendered homeless and jobless by such crises were taken care of in highly sophisticated rehabilitation centres attached to such IDP camps. Even till this very moment, there are still many on-going social and security programmes being offered the people in the north by the federal government to calm their warring nerves and to also put food on their tables. The monies for all these programmes are from the national treasury. Well, I won’t just blame President Buhari or Governor Okowa for our woes or agonies for now. I don’t even know whether they have responded to our problems but such help were being hidden by Uwheru people that are government errand boys or girls. We should not forget that every hidden cause shall be unraveled in due time.
But however, if such help has been rendered to the Uwheru by the government and the effects are not being felt by the people, then such errand boys or girls or politicians must be brought to book for the further proof of Buhari government; fighting the gimmicks of corruption in every nook and cranny of the government. On the other hand, if both the state and the federal governments had not responded to the plight of the Uwheru people, then such social, security and rehabilitation programmes should be instituted as fast as possible. Why will criminal activities not be on the increase in the Niger Delta region? Today, many of Uwheru youths who were farmers before are now displaced off their jobs. They are now jobless. Won’t they eat at the end of the day? Even as I’m not supporting any form of criminal act by our youths, the government as part of its core responsibilities to the people must do the needful in order to make the economic equations balance.
More importantly, what I’m saying in essence is that, the Uwheru people for the past ten years now have been suffering untold hardship as a result of the activities of these Fulani herdsmen. Many of the innocent children are now dropped out of schools. The public primary schools in Avwon and Ovwororo were temporarily closed down by the government since herdsmen took over the entire communities. Those children are now deprived of their fundamental right of acquiring education. Not only that, thousands of people in these communities are today homeless. Many of them are now squatting with some of their kinsmen in other places. In the same way too, many innocent children died as a result of starvation and untreated sicknesses. What about married women and young girls that are being raped and kidnapped on daily basis? In short, this is a taboo against the Urhobo marital culture. Not withstanding, many Uwheru people are already sent to their early graves as government completely folds her hands and watches the people passing away without even providing remedial solution. These are just some of the signs of a failed government.
I want to conclude this my appeal to both the Delta state government and the Buhari led federal government by saying that, they should do something now to salvage the poor conditions of living of the victims of the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Uwheru Kingdom before the entire place will be deserted by both indigenes and non-indigenes. The Nigerian government should know that, a prostitute cannot be fooled every time. Uwheru people have suffered long enough in the hands of Fulani herdsmen, and coupled with failed governments that refused to answer our bitter cries of agony, hopelessness, penury, hardship, starvation, joblessness and other numerous social problems confronting the Uwheru people. Buhari and Okowa must do something now!
Young Erhiurhoro; Kjc is a reporter and a member of the Urhobo Historical Society.

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