Obiano Meets Herdsmen, Muslim Leaders To Avert Clashes | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Obiano Meets Herdsmen, Muslim Leaders To Avert Clashes

Willie Obiano
Posted: May 7, 2016 at 4:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Chukwujekwu Ilozue
 To forestall confrontation between Fulani herdsmen and agrarian communities in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano on Thursday held a tripartite meeting with the leaders of the Fulani community and traditional rulers in the state.
James Eze, Special Assistant to the Governor on Information and Publicity, in a release said that Obiano revealed to the gathering that there were suspicious movements in some parts of the state that were being carefully monitored to ensure that there was no immediate threat to the security of the state.
Obiano who met with leaders at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia said: “What we intend to do is to send the Fulanis that are living with us here to go and meet with the Fulanis in that area with a view to finding out whether they are coming in peace or otherwise.
“We want Fulanis in this committee to tell the members of this committee if their people are nursing any grievance in whatever form”.
Governor Obiano further pointed out that early in the life of his administration he had set up a special committee to nurture mutually beneficial relations between the Hausa/Fulani Community in the state and their hosts.
He said: “I don’t want anybody to take laws into his hands. That is why we set up this committee and we have agreed that compensation should be paid for any losses on either side. That is the way to co-exist in a multi-ethnic and diverse society. More importantly, we agreed at the Security Council Meeting that we will not allow herdsmen to carry arms.
“That is a clear directive from Abuja. Herdsmen are not supposed to bear arms. Please, if you see any herdsmen with AK47 rifles, report them early to the police so that they can be picked up,” Governor Obiano advised.
He recalled that Fulani herdsmen used to be known with their long sticks and daggers, which they wielded to protect their cows. “But these Fulani herdsmen that carry AK47 riffles are worrisome. We don’t want what happened in Enugu to happen here,” he said.
Obiano, however, warned that if all the measures put in place fail, Anambra people would be ready to defend themselves.
In his words: “But if the three options we are proposing fail, we are ready to defend ourselves. But we don’t want it to get to that point.  We do not want anything to destroy the beautiful relationship that has existed between Igbos and Fulanis and other Nigerian tribes. We want Anambra to be a shining example.”
He assured that the lives of Fulanis, the Hausas and other non-indigenes in Anambra State are secured and that he was ready to protect them, adding, “nothing will happen to you in Anambra State.”
In his speech, Alhaji Siddiki Gidado, the chairman of the South East Zone of Maiyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, commended Governor Obiano for convening such a crucial meeting at a very trying time in the nation’s history.
Alhaji Gidado noted that every part of Nigeria is increasingly in one pain or the other, “and our herdsmen are spared neither the pains nor the blames consequent upon some of these unpleasant occurrences.”
 “I must confess that life out there in the jungle where our people breed their cattle is rough and this is often compounded by either some acts of carelessness by some herdsmen or sheer acts of suspicion from natives who might not be hospitable to the herdsmen traversing their physical space,” he said.
He decried the wanton loss of lives and property caused by the growing clashes between Fulani herdsmen and their host communities, maintaining, “No amount of efforts deployed towards achieving harmonious living among peoples is costlier than the price of disharmony.”
Alhaji Sule Momodu, leader of the Muslim Community in Anambra State, in his speech observed that Muslims in the state had never had it so good as they currently do under Obiano.
Alhaji Momodu said: “We have celebrated Sallah with him here in the Lodge and during the month of Ramadan, he has consistently given us food with which to break our fast. If we look at that, you will agree with me that we have no reason whatsoever to foment trouble in Anambra State because we have not been treated as strangers.”
He also thanked Governor Obiano for appointing a member of the Muslim Community as his Special Assistant, noting that it was the first time since the creation of the state that a Hausa/Fulani was given such an honour.