The Abia State government on Sunday asked killers Herdsmen to leave the state forthwith or be prepared to face the full weight of the law henceforth.
A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, in Umuahia insisted that a situation whereby some criminals hiding under the guise of Herdsmen unleash mayhem and terror some parts of the state will not be tolerated by the government.
He urged Fulani Herdsmen operating in the state to obey the anti open grazing law of the state passed by the Abia State House of Assembly in 2018, adding that it is of great importance that all Nigerians, including Herdsmen should obey the laws of their host communities.
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The Abia commissioner noted in the statement that some criminals, masquerading as Herdsmen, have recently infiltrated into some forests in the state and disclosed that these criminal elements rob, kidnap, rape and sometimes killed their victims even after collecting some ransom.
This, Okiyi Kalu explained, is not what the government will condone. He contended that the state anti open grazing law was properly enacted by state assembly to protect crops and other farms yields in the state and wondered why the police, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have not arrested the Herdsmen who run foul of the law.
He emphasised that in the present modern civilization, cattle are kept in ranches for better productivity and expressed worry that the situation in Nigeria has allowed cattle to travel many kilometres in the bushes and forests even in the urban areas with it attendant consequences.
Okiyi Kalu warned that no business venture in the state will be allowed to constitute an impediment or obstacle to the survival and growth of another business venture, adding that Abia farmers cannot continue to suffer some losses due to the destruction of their crops and farmland by cattle herded by the Fulanis.
He therefore assured genuine Fulani Herdsmen of adequate protection of their lives and cows, saying that the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s statement that he paid some amount to Fulanis whose cows were killed by rustlers was a testament to the fact that the government was genuinely committed to the protection of genuine Herdsmen in the state.