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Published On: Thu, Feb 20th, 2020

Herdsmen Attack On Urhoboland: Time For Action

By Wilson Ruvwoghor
LAGOS FEBRUAY 20TH (URHOBOTODAY)-It is no surprise that Uwheru, one of Delta’s perennial flash-points recorded its first bout of herdsmen attacks against residents of the Ughelli North Council community with reported killing of at least eight persons this new year.
Predictably, political officeholders across the state have, from safe distances, began to react to the incidents in impulsive condemnations of the attack against the helpless rural dwellers. Before long, other flash-points including Ovre Eko (Ethiope East), will start recording recurring casualties.
Beyond self-glorification and display of pretentious empathy, it is hard to determine whose interest Governor Ifeanyi Okowa served in his hurried commendation of the police, army for restoring uneasy calm in Uwheru after the killers have disappeared, leaving in their wake over eight dead bodies.
It was as much dishonourable that Deputy Senate President (DSP), Ovie Omo-Agege, in his sentimental empathy, ironically indicted the military of aiding the suspected killer herdsmen and also placed hope of fishing out the aiders and abettors on same military while placing his only hope of seeking justice over the saga on the police who have already called the community mourners of murdered relatives liars.
I wouldn’t take Okowa serious with his face saving commendations of the police for rushing in only when the havoc has been done.
Anyone familiar with his unfeelingness towards the pains of herdsmen attacks on communities since his governorship over Delta to the extent that his convoy was once stoned at Ossisa, would share same disposition to his pretenses.
But to the DSP, like I did with a concerned Urhobo Reps member days back, here is some passionate constituent’s advice: You can’t do same thing same way all the time and expect a different result. Past experience in Uwheru and Ovre Eko has shown negligible cooperation from mainstream security agencies when herdsmen kill in these localities.
Most DPOs, Area and Battalion Commanders in these areas are ethnically distant from the natives, many times, closer to the herdsmen.
The greater tendency is to treat incidents with bias, indifference or shielding of the herdsmen to cause more havoc.
It is still reverberating that the killers in latest attacks in Uwheru had shielding from uniformed men, so why rely on mainstream security to save the situation?
More-so, even the killers have very little respect for the police and army. Last year there were reports of direct confrontation between the herdsmen and the police on that Uwheru axis in the Delta with reported fatalities on the part of the security operatives in some of the encounters.
Yes, by his status, Omo-Agege can explore lawful options, but in these days of Amotekun, you need to reach out to the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) for collective bargaining at fashioning homegrown defense against these stranger attackers, which is why it is also disappointing that UPU is equally dissipating it’s thoughts on chorusing the passing call on Buhari to “stop the killings”.
This is not a fight to expect Buhari to come to Urhibo’s rescue. In his own Katsina, he’s not been able to stop the killing of the majority of defenseless paupers.
UPU ought to bring all Urhobo clans, kingdoms to the table, to set up internal security structures, with the DSP and other Urhobo officeholders and wealthy individuals in the land providing statutory and material support.
Wilson Ruvwoghor writes from Warri, Delta State

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