By Atevure Princess,
The Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege urged the federal government to jettison the idea of creating cattle colonies in any part of Urhobo land and any parts of the country where the people are overwhelming opposed to the policy.
In a statement, Omo-Agege argued that 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 Senator said his remark is as a result of series of consultations with his constituents, following the announcement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, that cattle colonies will be established across the country for herdsmen, in order to curb the increasing cases of clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
According to Omo-Agege, majority of the Urhobo people are strongly opposed to cattle colonies on their land.
He said, “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’re not interested now and will never be interested”. He however stated that the District was favourably disposed to and would sign up on for the establishment of cattle ranches.
On the increased violent herdsmen/farmers clashes, Omo-Agege said these were as a result of the decade long failure by the security agencies to enforce the country’s laws.
“This made it possible for herdsmen to openly carry lethal weapons which they now use to unleash terror on our fellow citizens. This is a failure of law enforcement and the blame lies squarely on the Nigerian Police and other security agencies whose responsibility it is to enforce the Fire Arms Act and not the fault of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He maintained that it is only the strict enforcement of the fire arms law that will ensure the safety of communities and peaceful co-existence of the herdsmen and farmers in any part of the country.
The lawmaker urged police and other security agencies to therefore do their job by disarming the herdsmen, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the heinous crimes and establish law and order in the affected communities
“The Nigerian Fire Arms Act (1990) prohibits non-military members of the public from carrying military grade weapons such as the AK-47. The act provides that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition except such person has a license from the President or from the Inspector General of Police,” he added.