Rivers community residents flee farmlands over herdsmen invasion

…Police launch probe

Some residents of Abgeta 2, Chuobo community in Ebubu Clan, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State have raised the alarm over the alleged invasion of their farmlands by suspected herdsmen.

The community leaders said some natives are fleeing from the area for fear of being attacked by the herders, even as it was gathered that one person sustained injuries while trying to stop the herdsmen from crossing his farmland.

The Youth President of Agbeta 2, Chuobo Community, Justice Kanibo, while speaking to newsmen appealed to the Chairman of Eleme LGA to come to their aid, alleging that the invaders were usually in possession of guns.

He said, “As I speak to you, people are packing because of fear of the threat which we are having from these people.

“They (herdsmen) don’t go back, but they always come with AK-47s to the farmlands every day. So people are scared for their lives.

“I was born in that community. I don’t know why the local government chairman who we voted in, up till now has heard their cry but he doesn’t care. It looks as if they should kill all of us.

“We are begging the state government to come to our aid and rescue us from what we are passing through from these herdsmen.”

On his part, the Chairman, Council of Chiefs and Elders of the community, Kayuone Gbaranen said the farmers could no longer access their farms due to the activities of the herdsmen.

“Our people no longer go to the farm. Their crops have been destroyed. Most of the people have started relocating to other communities.

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“But then, we are not losing hope. We believe that something will be done. If nothing is done, that community is bound for extinction.”

He however appealed to security agencies to quickly intervene and investigate the matter with a view to apprehending the suspects.

“We won’t relent because it is not over until it is over. We don’t have any option, but to continue to pressurize the security agencies to try and do their best because we are obedient and tax-paying citizens of the local government and Rivers State.

“We have not done anything wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. We also call on the local government chairman to use his good offices to fish out the herdsmen that are responsible for these atrocities and call them to order,” the monarch said.

Reacting to the incident, the Chairman of LGA, Obari-lomate Ollor assured that the council was working with the relevant security agencies to ensure that the incident does not repeat itself.

“I have been on top of the issue of security since I assumed office as chairman. I can tell you that it will receive the required action that is needed.

“At the moment, the police, the Department of State Services and all other security agencies are on top of the situation to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself,” he said.

The council boss said with the support of the security agencies, he has met with the leaders of the Hausa community in the area, where it was agreed that a task force will be set up to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book.

When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Grace Iringe-Koko said the command was aware of the incident, saying the investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of the assailants.

“Yes, we are aware. The person injured is responding to treatment. An investigation is ongoing,” she said.

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