The Pan Ijaw socio-cultural group, Ijaw National Congress (INC), on Wednesday urged Governors of Niger Delta states to emulate Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa strides to curb herders/farmers’ clashes.
Gov. Diri on April 20 apprehended two herdsmen openly grazing their cattle at Isampou junction on the road, and subsequently ordered for their arrest and prosecution.
Prof Benjamin Okaba, President of INC, who disclosed this in Yenagoa, noted that recent clashes that led to loss of lives calls for security consciousness amongst the citizenry.
Okaba said that the recent developments in Bayelsa and Delta states have made it imperative for state governments in the region to sit up and protect Ijaws by using the instrumentality of existing laws through implementation.
“The herders/farmers’ clashes in some communities in Bayelsa and Delta recently is an eye opener to Ijaws and a vindication to the call for concerted efforts to avert loss of lives by INC.
“Following the security challenges across the country, the leadership of INC warned our people in the Niger Delta to be vigilant and security conscious and the recent wave of violence meted to Ijaws in their homeland is unacceptable.
“The Bayelsa experience in the past weeks with reported violence and loss of lives on both sides should be a justification for other governors in Niger Delta states to follow the steps taken by Gov. Diri of Bayelsa.
“But for his intervention in the violence, following the stabbing of an illustrious Ijaw son by a tricylist who was also lynched in the process, the death toll would have been much higher.
“The Bayelsa governor made it clear that Bayelsa is open to all Nigerians to reside and do legitimate businesses within the ambit of the law, and the INC supports him.
“Ijaw people are naturally friendly and hospitable but our hospitality must not continue to be taken for granted. A tricyclist carrying dangerous weapon and herders bearing arms cannot be said to be here for business,” Okaba said.
The Ijaw leader noted that the implementation of existing laws to provide a level-playing ground to ensure that all businesses, including cattle rearing and farming, exist without anyone disrupting the other.
He further noted that the legal option should be complemented by sensitisation of communities’ leaderships on the need for peaceful co-existence with non-indigenes in addition to the awareness that security is everybody’s business.