Count Urhobo out of cattle colony, says Omo-Agege
• Why Ndigbo should reject policy, by MASSOB
The senator representing Delta Central in the National Assembly, Ovie Omo-Agege, has cautioned the Federal Government against including Urhobo and the entire senatorial district in its cattle colony project.
According to the former governorship aspirant, in a statement, his most important duty was to engage his constituents and communicate their stances on burning issues.
He said: “In the past few weeks since the announcement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, that cattle colonies would be established across our country for herdsmen to curb the increasing cases of clashes between farmers and herdsmen, I have met with various leaders, stakeholders and constituents in Delta Central to discuss this complex and controversial topic.
“Those discussions have revealed to me that the majority of the Urhobo people are strongly opposed to cattle colonies on their land. No one wants it and no community is ready to give up its land to those who have killed their people and raped their wives under any circumstances. So, count us out of any cattle colony arrangement. We are not interested now and will never be interested. However, what the Urhobo people do want, in overwhelming numbers and would sign up on, is the establishment of cattle ranches.
“Let’s be clear: the establishment of cattle colonies will not curb the herdsmen and farmers’ crisis. Rather it will exacerbate the problem and further divide the country along ethnic and religious lines given the widespread opposition in certain parts of the country.”
The lawmaker, who is a lawyer, noted that the Nigerian Fire Arms Act (1990) prohibits non-military members of the public from carrying military grade weapons such as the AK-47.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has alleged insincerity on the part of the Federal Government in the proposed cattle colony project, calling on Ndigbo to reject the policy.
The MASSOB leader in Enugu State, Frank Kalu, told reporters yesterday in Enugu that the seeming inability of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to tame the ongoing massacre in parts of the federation should serve as warning signals to the states in the South East zone that “nobody will be there for you should there be any strike by herdsmen in the event of their living with you.”
Wondering how the Federal Government has taken “special interest in the protection of cows than human lives”, he stated that it was sad that nothing had been done to compensate victims of the attacks in the region and other parts of southern Nigeria.
Kalu went on: “We were here when Nimbo in Enugu was wreaked, followed by another community in the state where a Catholic seminarian was butchered while asleep. Since these incidents, many more have taken place in the South East. Farms are attacked and natives chased out of their homes. In all these, the Federal Government kept quite.
“Presently, they swooped on Benue State and are killing innocent people on a daily basis. Instead of attacking the issue and bringing to book those involved in these ugly incidents, government is busy suggesting cattle colonies in the states.
“The point is not in establishing cattle colonies for states that have land, but the issue is in managing them, especially the security of those areas where this business will run. We are living in a country where only one segment enjoys protection and gestures of the Federal Government. All others are treated like slaves.
“Is the Federal Government saying that the genocide in Benue is not planned to humiliate the people? Is it possible that the level of kid-glove treatment being given to those killing others in place of cow can be extended to any other organisation or region in the country assuming their youths are the ones creating crisis?”
Kalu, who asked the Buhari government to take responsibility for the killings in the country, especially those committed by herdsmen, said it was an indication that something is wrong with the nation’s security architecture.
He called on southern states to establish in-house security outfits to check the rampaging herdsmen, whom he said, “are being propelled to cause disaffection in parts of the country for a determined agenda.”
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