Herdsmen: Kogi West group raises alarm


Herdmen with guns

Armed herdsman in Nigeria

By Richard Elesho

Okun Development Association (ODA), the umbrella socio-cultural Union of Yoruba speaking people of Kogi State, has raised an alarm over what it called grave insecurity posed by herdsmen in the area and called on all sons and daughters to join in the search for solution.

The call follows escalating cases of robbery, kidnapping, raping and killing in Okunland.

Ayo Abereoran, ODA National Secretary, signed and circulated among people of Okun land a statement directing Okun people in diaspora to come home for a stakeholders meeting on the matter.

Abereoran said farmers could no longer go to their farms and that indigenes were already afraid of visiting home for fear of herdsmen attack.

“The ODA’s very urgent and clarion call is therefore that every son and daughter of Okun must as matter of urgency rise up and face holistically the unprecedented security challenge forth with.

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“In January 2018, after the Okun development Association (ODA) Executive Council meeting with Okun traditional fathers and other stakeholders on the security situation in Okunland held at St Augustine College Kabba, a press statement was released in which it was shown how unhappy Okun were at the Kogi State Governor’s open invitation to the Fulani herdsmen to come to the state without caution.

“The position of ODA in respect of the unfavorable invitation resulted in Okun sons in government- Local Government Administrators and political office holders showing disregard towards ODA’s position; insinuating that ODA was crying wolf where there is none.

“They further asked that the Governor should ignore our position, and that ODA had no mandate to arrive at such position on behalf of Okun people.

“Since the arrival of these unwanted visitors to our land, the visitors have been forcing their way to every nook and cranny of Okun land.

“Their invasion had resulted into serious hardships on our people, killing, raping, kidnapping and torturing of our unprotected people without let”, the statement read.

The ODA Secretary said the security agencies appear overwhelmed and urged people, irrespective of political or religious affiliations, to rise up in the defence of their fatherland.