The traditional ruler and members of Owa-Alero Community, hometown of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State, have charged the Fulani Herdsmen in their community whom they said have destroyed over 90 percent of their farm crops and plantations with their cattle, to as a matter of urgency, park their belongings and leave the community before Saturday, May 26, 2018 or be ready to face the consequences.
The agreement to the two weeks ultimatum was unanimously reached by the four Okparans, Ndi Ichens, Olotus, Ikoros (youths) and the entire members of the four Quarters of Owa-Alero Community, during an enlarged emergency meeting which took place at the Community’s General Council of Elders (Ogwa-Ali-ile), on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
In a statement signed by the Okparan-Uku of Idumuebor and Owa-Alero Community at large, Elder Ajuebon Atukpor, Elder Odu Keogwu, Okparan of Ali Egwe quarter, Elder Emeye Nmoye, Okparan of Ali-Ugba, and Elder Teddy Kimekwu, the Okparan of Ali-Oye quarter, it was noted that the Fulani Herdsmen have taken over the entire farm lands of the members of Owa Alero Community, leading their cattle into farms and destroying their crops.
Speaking on behalf of the entire community, the Okparans said that by this time, 2017, after seeing the way and manner with which the Fulani Herdsmen and their cattle had invaded their farms, destroying all they had suffered for, in the cause of feeding their cattle, they invited them to their Council meeting and told them to leave the Community, but, they have refused to comply.
In their words, “This year 2018, the so-called Fulani Herdsmen with impurities still repeated same thing that almost resulted to war between them and the youths. As it stands today, the farmers in our community have no hope of feeding or taking good care of our children with our farm produce as it used to be. This is because our farm lands with palm plantations, yam, maize, cassava, and soon have been destroyed and used by the Fulani Herdsmen to feed their cattle.
“We thank all our children, both at home and in Diaspora who are with us here at our Council today, for honouring our invitation. We are unanimously saying that with effect from Saturday, May 26, 2018, any cattle found in Owa-Alero Community farm land should be regarded as “Bush Animal and be slaughtered as such”. Before now, we have made several efforts to know and meet with the rightful owners of the cattle, but all the efforts proved abortive as the Herdsmen in question were not ready to cooperate with us. Today, we have taken the final decision and we are using this medium to inform all those who are sponsoring the Fulani Herdsmen to as a matter of urgency, call them to order by complying with the two weeks’ notice”, the Okparans stated.
The community also resolved that if the Herdsmen on the contrary say they are not leaving the community, they should be ready to compensate the affected farmers the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) for damages. The community also disclosed that their reason for waiting this far before taking this final decision was that they never wanted to get involved in any crisis with anybody or group of people. As such, they advised the Fulani Herdsmen in their land, either in their farm, in the air, on the road or anywhere to park all their belongings and leave the community, never to return to the land anymore.
The Owa-Alero residents concluded by appealing to their son and brother, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Excellency Governor of Delta State, the State Commissioner of Police, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel O. Efeizomor II, (JP) OON the Obi of Owa Kingdom, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and their sons and daughters who are in positions of authority, to come to their aid. Above all, the Community members used the medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to help caution his people to desist from invading their farmland destroying their properties