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De Moment of Truth

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My exemplary Chief Lawmaker, you most probably have being hearing of 'Herdsmen' and their insistence for grazing rights, haven't you? You must have also realised by now that these people known as herdsmen are harbingers of sorrow.

My exemplary Chief Lawmaker, you most probably have being hearing of 'Herdsmen' and their insistence for grazing rights, haven't you? You must have also realised by now that these people known as herdsmen are harbingers of sorrow.


They are a set of fully armed belligerent, savage and blood thirsty nomads. When they visit a land, they render it   desolate. Their grouse is that they want to graze their animals on other people's farms without hindrance.
Mr Speaker Sir, as a top political leader and player in the current political dispensation, you know very well that free grazing on farmlands by Fulani cattle rearers has now become a constant source of friction between them and their host communities, thereby raising undue tensions here and there over possible ethnic violence.  Though Imo state has so far been relatively lucky, having not been subjected to the devastations other states like Benue, Enugu, Kaduna, Taraba, etc have suffered in the hands of herdsmen.
On a daily basis, I continue to ask myself what would become of our Imo people if news reports on herdsmen invasions of other communities happens in this place. The thought of it worries me to the extent that I have now formed the view that terrorism of herdsmen is better told than to experience it. For example, notwithstanding the peace agreement between Benue and Nasarawa governments for cordial coexistence between herdsmen and their host communities, it took only about two weeks for herdsmen to breach the agreement. Following an orgy of killings in Buruku Logo and Gboko which resulted in the death of 8 people on Tuesday 14th March, 2017, Gov Sam Ortom ordered for the immediate evacuation of herdsmen from Benue state. Issuing the order to security agencies to escort herdsmen out of the state, the governor stated that “We do not deserve to be killed this way. There is a limit to how I can hold back my people".
In the case of Ile Ife in Osun state, violence erupted between Yorubas and Fulanis on the 9th of March 2017. Information has it that a Yoruba housewife was molested by a Fulani, following which her husband had to confront her attacker. To the Fulani man, the Yoruba man's action amounted to an effrontery and he too was attacked and stabbed severally. That development resulted in an open confrontation between Yorubas and Fulanis with the result that 46 were killed and 96 wounded. At the end of the violent clashes, Police authorities arrested 20 Yorubas and sent them to Abuja for prosecution. Yorubas raised an alarm over the discriminatory treatment to their people but the IGP justified the Police action by saying that crime has no tribe.
You will also recall Mr Speaker, that in the case of the widely publicised ENUGU 76, two Augwu housewives were abducted by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. Following that ugly incident, the villagers assembled to discuss plans for a search party to rescue the women. But before they could even open discussions, security operatives in unmarked vehicles swooped on them and arrested 76 of them and sent them to an Umuahia prison from where they were charged to court. Weeks later, they regained their freedom after fulfilling stiff bail conditions. Although those Enugu men were charged to court, yet all the security agencies denied knowledge and involvement, a typical case of "unknown soldiers".
Sir, the case is the same all over Nigeria, from Kaduna through Niger, Benue, Edo, Delta and other parts of Southern Nigeria. As I write this letter to you, the people of Delta state claim that helicopters now drop arms to Fulani herdsmen in forests and are therefore accusing security agencies of complicity. The new dimension was exposed when Hon Evance Ivwurie who represents Ethiope East state constituency took up the matter with Police authorities after he was briefed by his constituents. As usual, Mr Zanna Ibrahim, Delta CP in an interview he granted to Saturday Vanguard of March 25, 2017 exonerated the Police, saying that it is not true that northern security agents are giving weapons to Fulani herdsmen. According to him, "Most of those we have arrested with arms were in possession of locally made weapons that are manufactured locally and purchased locally".
In the first place, the Rt Hon Speaker, you know it like other well informed Imolites that with the heat from grazing battle fields in the middle belt regions, herdsmen are now heading towards the Southern parts. The implication is that the population of armed herdsmen is on the increase in Imo state and this will also raise the level and frequency of grazing related violence. Should we continue to fold our hands while armed blood thirsty cattle rearers shift their battle ground to Imo? I believe that the answer is NO! 
In my humble opinion, it is only an inept legislature with an equally inept leadership that will still fail to take proactive actions to protect its citizens from falling victims to herdsmen terrorism after knowing what happened in other places. As things stand now, my belief is that after food and shelter, the next urgent need of Imo people is an Anti-Grazing Law. Imo people are the most vulnerable in any fight against herdsmen because they are backed by federal forces.
If Yorubas in Ile Ife who are in government can be selectively humiliated for challenging Fulani herdsmen, then the people of Imo can imagine what will befall them after a clash with herdsmen. The ENUGU 76 when a whole community was raided by federal forces for planning a search party for two housewives abducted by herdsmen should serve as a big lesson to everyone. The people of Benue state, for example, are full of lamentations for not recognising that free grazing is deadly until they were caged.
It will therefore be foolhardy for the Okorocha administration, with you, as the Head of the Legislature, to wait until grazing battle fields erupt in Imo state before taking actions. As I observed earlier in the beginning, God is with you, Mr Speaker. God definitely has a purpose in making you the Speaker. For your information, every leader has been discovered to have a specific assignment and a right time to accomplish it.  The Holy Bible is replete with records of such leaders. By building an ark, Noah saved Jews from being exterminated by flood and took them to a safe land while Abraham led them back to Canaan. Moses and Aaron rescued Israelites from slavery in Egypt while Jesus saved mankind from death. Mr Speaker, I therefore want to inform you that God who made you the Leader of the legislature has a purpose for doing so. Make no mistake about it. Therefore, your appointed hour, your appointed time has come to save the lives of potential victims of imminent herdsmen violence, which dangles like the sword of Domacles. Give us an anti-grazing law.
Thank you sir and remain blessed.

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