Bayelsa Anti-Open Grazing: Herdsmen engage security operatives in gun duel to prevent arrest | NN NEWS

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The Bayelsa State Anti-Open Grazing Committee has disclosed how Fulani herdsmen engaged security operatives in a gun duel to prevent the arrest of violators of the law.

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. David Alagoa, and the Special Adviser on Security, CP Akpoebi Agberebi (retd), made the disclosure during a meeting at the Government House to address the concerns of protesters from Otuasega community in Ogbia Local Government Area.

The duo, in the meeting chaired by the state deputy-governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and which had in attendance heads of security agencies, identified Okarki, a neighbouring Rivers State community, as the major route through which herdsmen enter the state.

They said security operatives have had shoot-outs with errant herdsmen in the state, resulting in the impoundment of over 150 cattle and arrest of suspected violators.

They disclosed that some of the culprits were still in confinement at the Okaka Correctional Centre and promised to beef up security in the area.

Checks revealed that the meeting, at the instance of the state government, was a direct fallout of a protest, on Monday, by women of Otuasega community in Ogbia Local Government over the destruction of their farmlands by herdsmen. At the meeting, the state government unfolded its plans to go tough on offenders of its anti-open grazing law enacted on March 9 2021.

Ewhrudjakpo, therefore, directed the chairmen of the eight local government councils to, immediately, set up sub-committees to work with its Anti-Open Grazing Law Implementation Committee, to check the activities of errant herdsmen in the state.

He disclosed that the Bayelsa State Police Command and the 16th Brigade of the Nigerian Army are also expected to set up a swift response team to work with the committee.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo urged the various councils to constitute the sub-committees within one week, as part of proactive steps necessary to checkmate the encroachment of farmlands and destruction of crops by herdsmen.

He explained that the sub-committees would work under the close supervision of the State Anti-open Grazing Law Implementation Committee,   headed by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr David Alagoa.

According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, the government was resolute in its resolve to enforce the anti-open grazing law to the letter, warning that violators of the law would be arrested and prosecuted.

Speaking on behalf of the women, the Otuasega Women leader, Mrs. Amiena Princewill Agiobu, said the women blocked the major road on Monday, to protest against the unrestrained destruction of their farms and crops by the Fulani herdsmen.

She pointed out that the herdsmen had attacked one of the community youths and that the situation was gradually getting out of hand, hence, they protested to draw the government’s attention to the issue.

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