From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Egume Ome Descendants Union has appealed to security agencies and other concerned institutions and individuals in Kogi State to probe the incessant clashes between herders and farmers in Egume community, Dekina local government area of the State.
In a petition to the committee on the resolution of the lingering crisis signed by the secretary of the Union, Mr Gabriel Ediche and made available to DAILY ASSET in Lokoja, the group said it was disheartened by the blood bath occasioned by conflict over trespass into farms and farmlands by herders in the area.
DAILY ASSET recalls that the vigilante chairman for the community, Mr Attah Isah was recently shot dead in front of his house in Efakwu area by gunmen who reportedly arrived the family compound on motorcycle.
Also, a former vigilante chairman in the area, Malam Attah Wada, (AkA) Ukpono was murdered in similar circumstances, while observing his evening prayers in front of his house, while the Amana- Attah of Ojikpadala – Egume, Chief Isah Edime, was also kidnapped from his house and murdered sometimes back.
The trio were said to have been at one time or another involved in the mediation efforts over such conflicts before their demise.
While commending heads of security agencies, authority of the Dekina local government area, chiefs and elders for their spirited efforts at ensuring lasting peace between the farmers and the herdsmen in the area, the group called for a holistic look at the remote cause of the misgivings in a view to proffering a lasting solution to it.
It noted that the indigenous farmers and the fulani herdsmen have co – existed with love, mutual understanding, respect and even inter – married for decades before now, adding that herders had respected boundaries of the land given to them by chiefs and elders in the area and there had never been any case encroachment, nor crisis of the current magnitude.
“The questions begging for answers are whether the attacks are between the farmers and the fulanis who have lived with us for decades and are already part of the community; where are these armed and violent fulanis coming from; who is accommodating this sect; Oko dudu is a boundary forest that accommodates farmers from Ologba, Anyigba, Iyale, Ikpakpala, Atochi, Etutekpe, Oganigu etc, why is Egume singled out for criminal suspicion and accusation; who owns the land and whether it is possible for the landlord to be at the mercy of tenants he did not bargain for?”
It urged the committee to take time to visit the area under siege for proper investigation, assessment and appreciation of claims.
“In as much as we vehemently frown at criminal elements taking undue advantage of the crisis and killing of cows, the wanton destruction of farmlands, siege on farm produce , the persistent fear of the unknown and the consequential economic pain and agony of the landlords must not be undermined.
“We implore the Committee to be fair, transparent and just in finding lasting solution to this crisis,” it appealed.