July 13, 2024

Edo communities, COSs block Benin-Lagos Expressway to protest herdsmen attacks


Traffic along the busy Benin-Lagos Expressway came to a halt for hours as protesting communities and civil societies blocked vehicular movement.

The communities and civil societies were angered by the continuous killings, destruction of farms, raids on communities and eviction of inhabitants by herdsmen.

The irate indigenes besieged the road from Odiguetue, Ofintebe, Igolo, Okokuo, Abumwenre I and II, Obarenren, Uhiere, Uyimo I and II communities of Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state to protest the grave threat to peace and order in the area.

The spokesman of the agitated communities and prominent rights activist, Mr Osagie Obayuwana, called for urgent steps to be taken to immediately prevent a major crisis in the area.

He said that the protesters are disturbed by the activities of the herdsmen which might trigger a serious crisis in the affected areas.

He said, “We want the whole world to know what the experience of our people have been for quite some time now.

“We are zeroing it on Ovia North-East communities. About 15 communities have been under siege for some years. Farmers have been prevented from going to their farms. Another planting season is going away, and they and their families have been sentenced to hunger.

And this has an implication for the larger society. It is one of the reasons the price of food is rising beyond the reach of even those in the middle class.

“So far, we have not seen a serious effort to address this issue. Our people have gone to various offices both the legislative arms and the legislative arms even traditional quarters and nothing seems to be coming out.

“Right now, the matter is degenerating to such an extent that people are being driven out of their villages.

“We are concerned that what had been happening in Benue and Plateau States will be coming to the shore of Edo State now where armed herdsmen drive people from communities, change the names of the communities and start to occupy the houses, we don’t want that.”

Speaking also, a former Public Relations Officer of Edo State Civil Society Organizations, Osazee Edigin, said that the CSOs were involved in the protest to call the attention of the government and security security agencies to the alarming insecurity in the area.

Edigin said that unless steps are taken to address the anomalous situation, it could culminate in food scarcity and more victims of insecurity.

“We are here to support these communities that have been ravaged and sacked by herdsmen. We have seen it as a high level of insecurity in the state, and we want the state government and law enforcement agencies to rescue them.

“We are here to amplify the voices of these locals so that the state government should intervene in this. If we don’t do it, we are going to have a scarcity of food and more victims.

“We urged the government to rise to the occasion and protect lives and property.

“The primary purpose of government is to protect lives and property, and if they fail in that area, then they are giving room for anarchy, and we don’t pray it results in a state of lawlessness.

“The government should step in. When there is no peace in the land, life will not flourish, and the economy will go down.” 

Prince Aik-Ikhuokhuo Uwaifo from Uhiere community, the erstwhile cordiality between communities and herdsmen have been taken over by a regime of outright criminality perpetrated by them.

“The herders move into their farms kill, rape, maim, destroy their crops and forcibly evict them from their community,” he said.

Similarly, a community member from Ogudi, Mrs Rhoda Ogba, said that the herdsmen now feed their cows with yam, cassava and cocoyam.

The farmer who called on the Federal and state governments to intervene in the crisis said that the members of the communities have become too scared to go to the farm.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police CP Abutu Yaro, who was represented by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, ACP, James Chu, said that the command had commenced security measures to stop the nefarious activities of the herdsmen.

“The Commissioner of Police, we all know he is new, and he shares with you in this pain. We are all on the same page and all on the same reason to be here to talk to you.

“He has asked me to let you know that you know that he is a new person in Edo State. He has taken notes of all the incidence we have had in these various communities and other communities in Edo North.

“There are very critical strategies that are in place to ensure that the excesses of these men who are disturbing our villages are monitored and equally checked and stopped.

“I want to assure you that the police is not resting in this issue. I want to assure you that we are going to work in hands and gloves with the communities to ensure the essence of this gathering.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *