As part of efforts to check the menace of Fulani herdsmen and other security challenges in Delta State, the state traditional rulers’ council resolved in a crucial security meeting held on 03/02/16, to employ the services of community vigilante groups.
Addressing the press on the resolutions reached at the meeting held in Asaba, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said, “we have had meaningful discussions with our traditional rulers, principally the members of the traditional rulers council and after a very long deliberation, we have been able to agree to certain things that need to be done and I must truly thank our traditional rulers for the various suggestions that have been made on how to tackle security challenges facing the state.”
“I must thank the security agencies too for providing necessary information; we have agreed that there is need for a neighborhood watch through vigilante groups, which is very important and that traditional rulers should pay more attention than before to the reconstitution of vigilante groups in their various communities and that there was a need to work out a means of empowering these vigilante groups to perform more creditably and we agreed that there was also a need for the vigilante groups to be registered with the Police,” the Governor said.
He added, “kidnapping has been a thorny issue; we are going to ensure that we take necessary measures to reduce it to its barest minimum; you can recall that we lost a traditional ruler and the one that was kidnapped has been released, so, we are taking it very seriously, the security agencies will meet with security council to take measures but, we have also discussed with our traditional rulers who will go back to their communities and carry out advocacy to ensure that a strengthened vigilante group is able to assist the security agencies in terms of provision of information and implement some other strategies within the communities that will prevent the level of kidnapping in our various communities.”
Senator Okowa emphasized, “we also agreed to set up a security committee at the state level to tackle and advise on the issues concerning the Fulani herdsmen and community clashes that have been occurring in recent times and that, there is the need for communities through our traditional rulers to set up a liaison committee that will relate with the Fulani settlers in view to creating the needed synergy to handle the clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and our various communities.”
While stating, “the security committee meetings at the local government level should hold more regularly and to that effect I shall hold a meeting with local government council chairmen to ensure that it is implemented,” Governor Okowa reiterated, “we have agreed on the need for a strengthened community relationship with the Police to ensure greater security in our local government areas and our various communities.”
He disclosed that measures would be put in place to check the increase in the use of illicit drugs by the younger ones which has led to cultism in communities and schools, noting that the “issue of sea piracy and the need to fund the security agencies particularly, the Navy to ensure greater patrol of our waters and reduce to the barest minimum piracy were also discussed and our traditional rulers in the riverine areas should ensure they collaborate with security agencies in that direction.”
Recall that Governor Okowa had also expressed the same sentiments at a media chat with Journalist earlier in the day, where he used the opportunity to speak on the state of security in the state, noting that menace of Herdsmen has become a national issue that was difficult to tackle.
According to him, “the greatest challenge is that we do not have grazing reserves, as such, the herdsmen move about without restriction; unfortunately, some of them are heavily armed, we have set up measures to check the criminal elements among them, but, we also know that the constitution does not provide for us to eject them from our state.”
He added, “some of them have been involved in criminal cases and the kidnap and subsequent death of our royal father, the King of Ubulu-Uku – may his soul rest in peace, has been linked to them, we have adopted security measures which I cannot expose right now.”
On the recent shooting in Effurun and its environs, the Governor assured residents of the areas affected that such would soon be a thing of the past as measures have been put in place to arrest the situation, adding that those involved in the criminal action that took place at Shoprite, Effurun would also, face the wrath of the law.
The Governor said, “we have our strategies to check security issues in the state, what happened at Shoprite was an unfortunate incident, the CCTV (Close Circuit Television) recorded everything that happened and by the time those things are presented in the Court, those involved in the criminal activity will have no place to run to.”
He also spoke on the erection of security gates at streets, saying that such would be regulated in the interest of all residents of the city, reiterating that measures being put in place would ensure adequate security of lives and property.