Insecurity: Delta Won’t Adopt Amotekun Model, Says Okowa

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Ifeanyi Okowa

Donates 35 vehicles to security agencies

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has said the state was not considering adopting anti-open grazing measure as a security strategy in tackling the spate of farmers-herdsmen clashes across the state.

Okowa, however, said he believed there were other effective means of tackling the security challenges posed by nomadic Fulani herdsmen than the nascent ‘Amotekun’ uniform security model initiated by the governors of the South-west states.

Also, the governor vehemently ruled out the possibility of giving out an inch of Delta State land as settlements for herdsmen.

He restated his appeal to the federal government to take a definite position that would make it impossible for criminal elements to infiltrate the ranks of genuine and law-abiding herdsmen.

Speaking while presenting the first batch of 35 vehicles to security agencies in the state at the Government House in Asaba yesterday, Okowa noted that adopting a uniform regional security architecture was not necessarily the panacea to the nagging security headache in Nigeria.

The governor noted that his preference was for the strengthening of an all-inclusive security mechanism in synergy with the conventional security agencies in Nigeria, which he said was paying off in the state, and commended the Inspector-General of Police (IG) for pushing for community policing in the country.

Conscious efforts should be made to avoid midwifing into forcing a security model that would conflict with the laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Okowa stressed, saying the decision by the South-west states must have been based on conviction about what they considered was best for them.

Okowa stated that Delta State was not in isolation as far as the security challenges affecting Nigeria were concerned, adding however that incidents of herders/farmers clashes, armed robbery, kidnapping and cultism have been on the decline in the last few months.

According to him, “As it concerns herdsmen menace, on the part of the federal government, a lot need to be done. We need strong statements on what should be done for the security agencies to further do their work.

“If you are going into any particular place, it is fair that you don’t walk into a community and seize the place. That is not right; and, for anybody who carries arms in the name of being a herdsman, it is obviously wrong. They are not licenced to carry arms let alone AK 47 assault rifles, and anyone seen carrying arms is a criminal.

“Beyond carrying arms, you don’t walk into a farm and begin to graze on the farmland. That is not the way it should be. So, there are a whole lot of issues, and we need strong voice from the federal authorities which will assist the security agencies.”

While urging the security agencies and traditional rulers in the state not to relent in their commendable job of uniting the people towards securing the communities through information sharing, he said a lot has been achieved.

Okowa said: “A lot of criminals have been apprehended, and one thing is certain-we are not giving any land for settlement-so we need to continue to work hard and liaise with other state governments in the South-south zone, and also at the national level to ensure that we are able to achieve an enabling environment for investments.

“I want to first of all thank the leadership of the various security agencies here and to urge them to continue to do more particularly in this dry season. We need to find ways to curtail the criminality in the area because we do know that there are some of the herdsmen who are civil in their approach. We are also aware that there are Hausa/Fulani people who have been living in Delta State for decades, but the criminal elements who are out there trying to maim our people must be apprehended in order not to destroy the warm relationship that existed between us.”