The Delta State Government on Wednesday took pre-emptive measures aimed at curtailing the menace of cattle rearers ravaging parts of the country by constituting a high-powered security committee to control the movement of cattle in the state.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan disclosed this to newsmen after an expanded Security Council meeting, comprising principal officers of he State House of Assembly, heads of security agencies in the state, traditional rulers, council chairmen and religious leaders that held at the Government House Annex in Warri.
Dr. Uduaghan , who raised alarm about the influx of strange persons into the state, stated that while the State Government welcome genuine strangers, it would not fold its hands and allow the state to be over ran by people with criminal intentions.
According to the Governor, the State Commissioner of Police is to head the task force with two members of the state assembly, two commissioners, representatives of security agencies, traditional rulers, council chairmen and the Northern Community as members, while the Office of the Secretary to the State Government is to serve as secretariat.
Dr. Uduaghan explained that the task force would among other things control the movement of cattle into and within the state with a view to nipping in the bud any attempt by herdsmen to cause a breach of the peace.
He added that the task force would also move into suspected locations, identify persons inhabiting such places and where it is established that the people are illegal immigrants, the immigration chief in the state would ensure they were evacuated.
The Governor explained that the measure was not to completely stop cattle rearing in the state, noting, ” they can come but their movement has to be controlled by the task force.If they are coming to stay peacefully we will allow them to stay.”
Governor Uduaghan observed that the state has had peculiar security challenge between cattle rearers and farmers, but added that the situation in recent times had taken a new dimension with the influx of herdsmen carrying arms which they have been using in terrorising farmers, snowballing into killing and raping of women.
He noted that the problem of cattle rearers was a national issue and that he was ready to work with the Federal Government, other governors and respected traditional rulers from the North in finding a lasting solution to the menace, “It is a challenge we are ready to face squarely,” he stressed.
Uduaghan urged chairmen of transition committees to hold monthly expanded security council meetings that would involve traditional rulers as part of measures to deal with the problem.
He also implored traditional rulers to join hands with government in its bid to arrest the situation while challenging them to work out local solutions in their respective domains to complement government’s effort.