Okowa Charges Security Agencies To Curb Activities Of Herdsmen in Delta

DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has called on security agencies to curb activities of herdsmen in parts of the state before it snowballs into crisis.

The Governor made the call when the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone 5, Mr. Rasheed Akintunde paid him a courtesy visit at Asaba.

“There is a particular community in Delta State, at a point in time, we discussed it at security council meeting and just yesterday (Thursday, 15/03/18) while I was in Ughelli North for my regular Town Hall meeting, the people raised a very serious issue about the Uwheru community, it is a very pathetic situation, because the President-General of the community spoke on the fact that out of their seven communities, three of them are actually occupied by the herdsmen and the farmers are told that they must pay the herdsmen before they can enter their farms and that is very disturbing because it is strange for indigenes to pay money before they can enter their farms and I believe something has to be done before it evolves into a crisis situation,” the Governor said.

He continued, “this has been going on for several years but it has gotten worse of recent, so, AIG, this situation has to be addressed immediately as a security issue.”

The Governor told his guest that his administration is concerned about the security of life and property of every Delta and their communities, stressing the Police and other security agencies must strive to protect the different communities in the state.

Governor Okowa lauded the synergy between security agencies in the state which has ensured a peaceful state that has become home to investors.

“As a people, we know that the more peaceful we are, the more investors will come into the state and in the course of this year, we will witness a lot of groundbreaking ceremony as investors are coming to the state in their large numbers,” the Governor disclosed, asserting, “we are doing a lot to provide infrastructure, we are doing a lot to engage our youths, the more youths we engage, the less idle minds we will have in the state.”

Governor Okowa assured the AIG that his administration will continue to support security agencies in state, saying, “Delta State is largely peaceful, we take matters of security serious, there is a lot of collaborations between different security agencies in Delta State and beyond the collaborations, we take the issue of information gathering serious as we nip security challenges in the bud, we also, have state advisory and peace building council which is made up of experienced men and women of impeccable character, they also, help to maintain peace in the state.”

The AIG had told the Governor that he was on a familiarisation tour of Police formations in the state, observing, “your administration has rendered uncountable support to the Police Command in different areas, your support has greatly, enhanced the performance of the Command and we want to thank you and assure you that the Police will ensure an all-time peace in the state.”

No Land For Cattle Colony In Delta – Okowa

Delta State, Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has declared that the state does not have land for cattle colonies

The Governor made this declaration Asaba while addressing stakeholders at a meeting involving Herdsmen, Farmers, Community leaders and Heads of security agencies.

He decried what he described as the inability of the Federal Government to disarm armed herdsmen who perpetrate crimes and other vices and called on the Federal Government to come up with a clear-cut policy direction on this issue.

As part of interim measures to address the recurrent clashes between herdsmen, farmers and host communities, Governor Okowa tasked Chairmen of local government councils to set up a special task force on security comprising of necessary interest groups in their various councils, within one week.

The Governor expressed concern over the occurrence of incidences where cattle are led by minors.

“Some of those who are also looking after the cows are so young that most times, they are not able to take decisions concerning the cows, as long as they carry arms and ammunition, there is a major security issue at stake”.

He used the occasion to buttress the fact that Delta State has no land for the Federal Government’s proposed cattle colonies, disclosing that most Deltans are moving to neighboring Edo State to farm because of inadequate land in the state.

“By next week, we need to have an interventionist committee on security in all the local government areas of the state while we await a definite policy direction from the Federal Government. Chairmen of the local government areas must ensure that names of members of the committee gets to the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) who is the Chairman of the Central Coordinating Committee and ensure that minutes of their inaugural meetings are also, sent to the SSG,” the Governor said, noting that it was wrong for anybody to hide under the guise of herdsmen to perpetuate crime in the state.” He said.

He emphasized, “the Nigerian constitution does not allow anyone to graze on somebody’s else farm, it does not permit you to forcefully take over someone’s house, we can co-exist as a people but, as we co-exist, there must be mutual respect for one another, whoever you are, when you engage in crime, the law takes its course.”

While calling for caution and peaceful co-existence among Deltans, Governor Okowa urged the Police and security agencies not to be compromised in ensuring justice for all, asserting that they should not allow the communities to lose confidence in their abilities to check crimes, especially those committed by herdsmen.

The Commissioner of Police, Delta State, Mr. Muhammad Mustapha assured Deltans that their security will not be compromised by the Police in ensuring peaceful co-existence in the state.

Those who spoke at the meeting including traditional rulers, farmers, Myetti Allah and Hausa/Fulani representatives commended Governor Okowa for ensuring that the situation has not snowballed into major crisis despite issues of killings, rape of women, armed robberies, among other vices.

Some of those who spoke at the meeting called on the state government to take actions towards stoppage of grazing in the state, noting that the people could survive without beef and its by-products while others stated that efforts should be geared towards peaceful co-existence in the state.

Ukah Advocates Support for Okowa Administration

The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Hon Patrick Ukah has lauded the multifaceted-SMART-developmental strides of the state government while calling for support for the Okowa-led administration.

Hon Patrick gave this commendation during his lecture on “An Overview of the SMART Agenda of His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa” at the One Day’s  Summit organized by the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Special Duties, Hon. Humphrey Uzuakpundu with the theme: Building “A Recession-Free” Delta State held in Obiaruku.

In his elaborate yet encapsulated lecture, Hon Patrick outlined a summary of the implemented projects, policies and progammes under the Okowa’s SMART-government.

He stated that Governor Okowa is delivering on his campaign promises “prosperity for all Deltans” in spite of the harsh economic realities besieging almost every state in Nigeria.

He enumerated some of the achievements of the state government to include strategic wealth creation projects and massive job provision for all Deltans via; Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP) amongst other programmes.

Also, he noted that the state government is doing everything within its power to ensure that there is sustained peace in every part of the state.

He however added that the menace of the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen requires federal might and as such the state government has urged the Federal Government to introduce policies that will contain the excesses of the herdsmen in Delta State and every other state in the country.

On agriculture, the State’s Spokesman said that about 200,000 hectares of arable land is currently being cultivated with up to 500,000 hectares yet to be cultivated.

Meanwhile, Hon Patrick debunked the malicious rumours making round that the state government have cancelled the Free-maternal healthcare.

He noted that what is on ground is a free-improved healthcare services (Delta State Contributory Healthcare Scheme) for children zero and five years of age which is to be followed by the physically challenged and those above 65 years in no time.

According to Hon Patrick, the free maternal programme for all pregnant women is still ongoing and will continue indefinitely.

The Okowa-led administration has extended the free medical programme to primary healthcare centers across the state to make it readily accessible to those in rural communities, he added.

Earlier in his address, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Hon Humphrey Uzuakpundu expressed his unreserved appreciation to Governor Okowa for the rare privilege to serve in his prosperity government and for the opportunity to contribute his quota to the growth and already glowing scorecard of this administration.

He noted that the summit was aimed at impacting the necessary wisdom and knowledge on how to judiciously manage resources during this period of recession.

He also thanked the resource persons and all those that came for the summit.

In the separate lectures, the resource persons amongst other things stated that for Delta State and Nigeria to be free from recession that certain conditions must be on ground.

According to them, Nigeria is not a failed state or a failing state but rather a captured state being constantly pulled apart by religious, political, economic, tribal and ethnic forces; to make meaningful progress therefore, they proposed that the youths should be groomed for leadership; those in power should provide purposeful leadership and good governance; proactively engage in building and sustaining peaceful coexistence; engage the electorate by bridging the communication gap; and by recognizing that the state belongs to all and that the resources should be equitably shared by all.

They also added that, for Nigeria to relatively live comfortably in this recession period that a mentality of emergency is needed luxurious partying should be avoided; time should be used judiciously; when empowered stay empowered and empower others; and the electorate should be well educated on the programmes of the government.

On his part, the chairman of the day, Dr Chukukwuemeka Ojieh in his closing remarks enjoined the participants to use the knowledge they have gotten from the summit to better themselves, their families and the state.

He also thanked the Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa for his impactful administration and prayed God to grant him more wisdom to govern the state.

 

Okowa Hands Over Security Vehicles to Police to Tackle Herdsmen Menace

TO boost security in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has presented security vans to the Police, saying that bad eggs among herdsmen should be identified and appropriately dealt with.

According to the Governor, the Police should in particular, tackle the menace of herdsmen and kidnapping as well as ensure peace in the communities.

The Governor presented the patrol vans to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, who led top functionaries of the Delta Police Command to the handover ceremony which took place in Asaba.

“We are worried by the menace of herdsmen in our communities and we believe that the Police requires all necessary assistance to enable it succeed in tackling crime in our state; people who are parading to be herdsmen with dangerous weapons should be stopped because, we are aware of genuine herdsmen who have lived with our people over the years without any hiccups,” Governor Okowa observed, adding, “no criminal should hide in the guise of herdsmen to perpetuate evil, the Police should be vigilant and flush out the bad eggs among the herdsmen, issues of kidnapping, armed robbery and others should be checked because, we want a peaceful state for speedy development.”

The Governor who lauded the Commissioner of Police for initiating the repairs of broken down patrol vehicles of the Police, asserted that there is the need to continually carry out maintenance of existing equipment and plants to ensure their effective utilisation and productivity.

“We provided the resources to rejuvenate these grounded vehicles in the State Police Command to improve mobility and security in the state; I believe that in this era of recession, we need to have maintenance culture where existing vehicles and equipment are maintained for optimal efficiency and productivity; even when the economy improves and new vehicles are provided, we still need to carry out maintenance of existing ones,” the Governor said.

Earlier, Mr. Ibrahim, said the vehicles were repaired through the financial support of the state government and they would be distributed to various units of the Police across the state for effective patrol of the state.

He called for partnership with government, non-governmental organisations and communities in the provision of security in the state, observing that security should be the duty of everyone as the Police was ready to receive and act on necessary information from the public to check criminal activities.

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Oil Wells: Niger Delta Lawmakers Insist on 65 Percent, Score Security Agencies Low, Advises FG on Security

To facilitate development in the Niger Delta region, South-South and South East lawmakers have urged the Federal Government to review the ownership structure of oil wells in the country.

“The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65 percent of the oil wells, contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10 percent of the oil blocks belong to our people.”

They noted that the region’s development is being hindered by the present payment mode of derivative oil funds.

“There is an urgent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in place adequate machinery that would ensure direct payment of derivative oil funds into the hands of Niger Delta Benefiting communities” the principal officers and members of the Houses of Assembly in the region said.

Rising from the first parliamentary session of the South-South and South-East Houses of Assembly in Owerri, Imo State during the weekend, the lawmakers condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of the so called herdsmen.

“Legislators of the Houses of Assembly in the South-South and South East can no longer watch helplessly as our region drifts aimlessly while our people walk the razor edge under the strain of impoverishment, environmental degradation, insecurity and uncertainty on the one hand and the destruction of oil/gas installations and the attendant consequences including their impact on the ecosystem and the economy on the other hand”

They urged the youths to shun confrontation, violence and militancy in pressing for the redress of the zone.

“They must embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms”

The joint session of legislators from the South -East and South –South geo-political zones not only condemned the evil acts of kidnapping, hostage taking and bursting of oil pipelines but stressed that militants from the zones should be constituted into an officially recognized brigade for the protection of oil installations

“They should among other things be charged with the responsibility of halting the rise of other offensive militant groups who may from time to time threaten to spring up”

The lawmakers advised the Presidency to direct the security agencies in the country to brace up and be alive to their constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.

“They must save the people of the geo-political zones from the hands of the marauding herdsmen. Governments of the South-East and South-South geo-political zones should set up a high powered joint judicial panel of inquiry to unravel the facts and circumstances surrounding the incessant attacks by the herdsmen and determine the best way to prevent its recurrence in the zones. They should also establish special task forces drawn from the various security agencies and neighborhood watch in each local government to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen and prosecute them”

The legislators, who called for more proactive measures to address the activities of herdsmen, restated their commitments to pass bills restricting cattle rearing, prohibiting grazing of cattle from one location to another through farmlands thereby causing damages to farm lands, health hazards and obstruction of vehicular and human traffic.

The lawmakers while attributing the defective and harsh socio-economic environment, lack of employment opportunities, lack of empowerment for the youth, environmental degradation, lack of infrastructure, general underdevelopment and inadequate benefit of the resources from the region, despite being the major source of the economic resources of the nation to the causes of upsurge in militancy activities in the region, rejected the proposed bill to establish and control grazing routes and reserves before the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.

They urged the Federal Government to revisit the performance of the amnesty programme, the United Nations Environment Programme Report and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project with a view to strengthening grey areas and called on the National Assembly to ensure the accelerated passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill

“The Federal Government should enter into peaceful dialogue with the critical stakeholders in the South-South and South- East in resolving the dispute and operate within the rules of engagement without incurring collateral damage”.

Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo states were in attendance.